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Why Turkey Has the Highest Murder Rate in Europe

100 Women is a BBC multi-format series that examines the role of women in the 21st century. In this clip from the 2016 season, we meet Seyhan Arman, a Turkish actress and transgender rights activist. The video reveals that Turkey has the highest transgender murder rate in Europe, and Arman talks about the murder of trans rights activist Hande Kander in 2016. Arman discusses discrimination against transgender people in Turkey, and says that she tries to engage with people in daily life and appear in the media in order to combat this prejudice. She also serves as a mentor for younger trans women. Next, we watch Arman transforming into Madmoiselle Coco, her drag character, a position that has enabled her to not have to engage in sex work, as many trans women must to survive. Speaking about the transgender movement, Arman says, “At the end of the day we’re going against the dominant ideology.” Finally, she insists that being trans is not a choice and that trans people exist.

discussion

Who is Seyhan Arman? Why does this segment of 100 Women feature Arman? How do we learn about her life?

What does Arman do to fight discrimination and prejudice against trans people in Turkey?

The theme of 100 Women in 2016 was defiance. Why was Arman chosen to represent defiance?

Compare the position of transgender people in Turkey and the United States. How do you think their experiences might be similar? How might they differ?