Saturday, February 28, 2009

Turkish Transwoman Running For Public Office

Ever since New Zealand's Georgina Beyer became the first transwoman to be elected to a national legislative body in 1999, we've had an increasing number of transgender people all over the world seeking elective office on various levels of government.

Transwoman Belgin Celik is seeking to make history in Turkey. She is running as a candidate in upcoming March 29 local elections in a district that has never had a female district representative candidate, much less ever had a woman serve in the position.

"As a transsexual woman, I believe I will be able to secularly fulfill my duties. I plan to determine the problems present and solve them with the public. There are two men also up for this position, but I believe I am going to win."

Celik is a human rights activist who has worked for the UN Refugee High Committee and International Amnesty and is one of the founders of the homosexual initiative, Lambda in Istanbul. She's running in the neighborhood where she's lived for 30 years. "I know everyone here and have acquaintances and friendships with everyone."

While some people are projecting her election as a sure thing, as anyone who has ever run for public office can tell you, there are no sure things in politics.

Hopefully on March 29 Celik will add her name to the list of transgender people who are elected officials.

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