Lebrecht photographer, Professor Mary Robert’s exhibition of photographs opened at Michigan State University Museum on 21st January about The Transgender Community of Istanbul.
An exhibit exploring sexual identity and transition in transsexuals of Istanbul
This exhibition gives a rare insight into the lives of people in transition – one of the most dramatic and absolute transitions that can be embarked upon by any individual. The photographic portraits explore the complex identities of the members of a community of male-female transsexuals living in Istanbul, Turkey. Robert’s photographs focus on the human qualities of the subjects who have developed a new, unique aesthetic.
Of the reported 2,000-3,000 transsexuals in Istanbul at various stages of transition from male to female, the vast majority exist in difficult circumstances and are often ostracized by their families.
By embarking on this path, they venture into the twilight world of a no man’s land between macho Turkish male culture and that of the liberated glamorous female. Here they live and operate in the shadowy edges beyond the well lit norms of society and its conventions. As expected in such territory, there is danger, no real protection and plenty of skirmishes and sniping. They are constantly pressurized by the locals, periodically harassed by the police and suffer prejudice from the political system which denies them the right to work legitimately until they successfully convert their blue (male) national identity card to a pink (female) card. This long road of conversion is arduous and expensive. Some work as cabaret entertainers but most survive and pay for their medical treatment by prostitution. In spite of their problems, at home the women are warm, generous, fun-loving people. They provide physical and emotional support for one another with some of the more experienced acting as mentors to new members.
For more information click HERE.