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Bülent Ersoy
Transsexual Turkish film star --
after her sex-change operation in 1980

Bülent Ersoy, transsexual Turkish film star -- after her sex-change operation in 1980.
In Turkey - Türkiye'de

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There's a new (transsexual) girl in town...
Bülent Ersoy
before (left) and after 'the op' (right) --
on the covers of popular music-albums
before and after 1981.

Transsexual Bülent Ersoy
shows off new 'equipment'
after her sex-change operation in 1981.

Not everyone likes Bülent Ersoy --
a right-wing extremist
even shot her on stage in 1989.
The vicious attack cost Ersoy
one of her kidneys.
Years later, her rescuer
sought Ersoy's help at a time of his
own personal need.

Bülent Ersoy
has been married twice
(that we know of)
since her sex-change operation.
Both marriages ended in divorce,
because both husbands were
caught cheating on her -- with other women.
That's first husband Cem Adlar with Ersoy at left
and second husband Armağan Uzun at right.
Second husband Uzun is also seen further below,
in the cheating process --
just a week after he and Ersoy tied the knot.

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Romance, Love, and Sex Matters in Turkey
Brief History of
Transsexual Turkish
Film/Movie Stars
Erkekten Dönme Kadınlar

In Turkey - Türkiye'de

Tüm blu-ray fırsatları için tıklayın !

Transsexual actress Emel Aydan
(at bottom left)
starred with Unsal Emre and Bahar Erdeniz
in Aşk, Arzu, Silah (Love, Desire, Gun),
the love story of an escaped innocent
and a women about to meet her maker,
in 1977.
Sexuality Survey of Turkey, 2005

In Turkey - Türkiye'de

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Turkey talks about its sexuality

In the Spring of 1981, Bülent Ersoy had returned with great fanfare from a male-to-female sex-change operation in London -- displaying his shriveled severed penis in a bottle of alcohol for photographers at the airport. News of the event was quickly smothered at the behest of the ruling military government.

Unintimidated by the hush-hush government attitude about Ersoy, 30-something Turkish newscaster Uğur Dündar produced and hosted a 60-Minutes-style exposé that same year on his TV program, Günlerin Getirdiği (Events In Our Time) -- concerned with the then-to-fore very private subject of Turkish transsexuals.

And, in a controversial segment of the program, Dündar identified 3 prominent Turkish surgeons who claimed to have performed the sex-change operation (male to female) on countless patients. One of the surgeons, Prof. Dr. Atilla Oymak claimed to have done his first sex-change op in 1972, eight years before Bülent Ersoy returned from London -- one appendage short.

For decades, Turkish TV news anchorman Uğur Dündar (born 1943, now approaching 70) has had almost the same reputation in Turkey as Mike Wallace (the famed long-time TV host of '60 Minutes', born 1918, now retired in his 90s) has had in North America... In 1973, the then 30-year-old Dündar (who speaks fluent English) interviewed me on camera -- pool-side at the Dedeman Hotel in Ankara. It was in the midst of the Turkish incursion into Kıbrıs, and, after some preliminary chit-chat, Dündar asked me if I was afraid about a rumored Greek air-attack on Ankara. The Greek Airforce of that time had no attack planes that could make the round trip from Athens to Ankara and back, so I pooh-poohed the threat on camera -- and it made the nightly TV news and made me a '15-minute celebrity' among my new Turkish friends and acquaintances.

Dündar's Günlerin Getirdiği (Events In Our Time) TV program caused a seismic stir in Turkey -- and in-country effects from it were immediate. The Turkish Attorney General opened an investigation and the Ahlak Masası prepared a dossier -- on the subject of Sex-Change -- and teams of lawyers in both camps began studying the subject feverishly. In addition, an academic 'Sex Change' Commission was formed at Istanbul University by Prof. Mındıkoğlu, whom Uğur Dündar had identified on his TV program as an 'expert' (and whom some believe performed the sex-change operation on Ersoy in London).

Later that same year, the Turkish military regime adopted an inflexible stance against all forms of 'social deviance' -- and, with pointed reference to Ersoy, the regime forbade onstage performances by men posing as women.

At that point, Bülent Ersoy and Kenan Evren (the Turkish military regime leader) began a battle of wills that lasted until 1988 (even though Evren officially left office in late 1983).

So, no one was surprised when (in January 1982) the Turkish Supreme Court denied Ersoy's application to change her official sexual-status to female.

Ersoy's response to the Court's decision was a failed suicide attempt.

After a lengthy drama (in which Kenan Evren continued to play a background role), the Adalet Bakanlığı drafted and proposed a law to modify the Turkish Civil Code. It was passed by parliament and established a medical-legal procedure for male citizens who wished to undergo sex-change. Those who completed the procedure received a pink identity card (which conferred on its holder the full legal status of a woman) -- to replace the blue identity card held by men.

In 1988, Ersoy returned triumphantly to stage and screen as a full-fledged woman. Male and female fans supported and 'adored' her.

And it's safe to say that Bülent Ersoy is still the most 'admired' of the Turkish transsexual performers (despite her repeated legal problems, not least among them being her recent court case in 2008 for "turning the people against the Turkish Military service").

But, Bülent Ersoy wasn't the first successful transsexual Turkish film-star/entertainer. Not by a long shot...


Posted by Sabah | December 8, 2008

I savored your piece about my friend, Bülent Ersoy, in the Turkish Transsexuals page. The information seemed accurate, without sensationalising. Myself, I am a transsexual entertainer in Israel and always find it a breath of fresh air to see my transgender sisters and brothers portrayed in a positive method. This website (practicalturkish.com) is a brilliant way to learn Turkish and I send my best wishes and regards. From Israel with Love!

  • Next: Part 2 -- Brief History of Transsexual Turkish Film/Movie Actors
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    © Turkish Transsexual Actors -- Emel Aydan, Aylin Berkay, Derya Sonay, and Bülent Ersoy (Bulent Ersoy) all own Turkish holiday real estate