Turkish trans female doctor banned from profession after year of harassment

The Turkish Health Ministry has expelled a trans female doctor from public service, citing her social media posts. Larin Kayataş said she had been told by officials that her "social media posts were not in line with the public morality."

Duvar English

Larin Kayataş, a female trans doctor, announced on Sept. 14 that she was expelled from public service and banned from the profession after facing various forms of oppression and harassment for the last year.

After graduating from the university, Kayataş was assigned to Taksim Training and Research Hospital in Istanbul last year.

In a written statement on Twitter on Sept. 13, Kayataş said that just one day after she assumed her post at the hospital, one of the personnel filed a complaint against her with the Presidency's Communications Center (CİMER).

In her statement, Kayataş said that the relevant staff member “did not see my behaviors and manner befitting the public morality and thought I was not suitable for the profession.”

Just one month later, the Istanbul Provincial Health Directorate suspended Kayataş from duty for a period of three months and launched a disciplinary investigation into her, citing her social media posts.

After the period of suspension was over, Kayataş continued to work at the hospital, with the disciplinary investigation pending. At the end of one year, the Health Ministry initially gave her a reprimand and shortly afterwards banned her from public service on Sept. 13.

Kayataş said that during the last year, the Istanbul Provincial Health Directorate summoned her three times for defense, asking her questions such as “Why did you join the March 8 rally?” “Are you a transwoman?” and “What do you aim with your tweet saying 'Give your vote to the [main opposition Republican People's Party] CHP when the elections come?”

Kayataş said she had been told by officials that her "social media posts were not in line with the public morality, did not befit the behaviors and actions of a civil servant and I was supposed to act morally as a young woman."

Kayataş said that she has been “officially condemned to social death” as she cannot also work for a private hospital since her mandatory public service is not yet over.

"After graduating from a science high school with honors, I have finished [Istanbul University's well-known] Çapa Medical Faculty in six years, without extending it even for one day. The efforts that I have given on my own for years now have gone down the pan. And the reason is my being myself, continuing the lifestyle I want, rejecting the systematic oppression imposed under the name of public morality and being a woman that lives her sexuality in a freeway,” she wrote.

Calling on people to show solidarity with her, Kayataş said that the decision to expel her from the profession is “political” and “a threat of intimidation against everyone who do not live like them, do not have a lifestyle like them.”

She further noted that she will launch a lawsuit challenging the ruling.

Messages of support poured in for Kayataş on social media.

Şebnem Korur-Fincancı, the chair of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), wrote on Twitter that she is the” first-hand witness” of how successful Kayataş was as a student and she will stand by her at all times in her fight.

LGBTIQ+ Councils ("Meclisleri" in Turkish) said that it is illegal to fire someone on the grounds of their sexual identity, vowing their support for Kayataş.

The Women's Platform for Equality (WPE) called on the Health Ministry to reverse its decision, saying Kayataş “cannot be condemned to social death.”