Members of the Gay, Lesbian and Transgender community demonstrate during the "Transgender Day of Remembrance" in West Hollywood, CA, 20 November 2006. The day was set aside to remember those who were killed due to anti-transgender hate or prejudice.  The demonstration finshed at the Mathew Sheppard Square, a place that was named after the young gay man was killed because of his sexual orientation in Laramie, Wyoming in 1998.    AFP PHOTO / HECTOR MATA

(Photo credit should read HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images)

An Open Letter To A Transgender Prisoner In Turkey

In a Turkish men’s prison, there is a womin that does not belong there. Esra Arıkan is a transwomin who is serving a life sentence (for a crime she did not commit) and has been locked up for 11 years and the last 9 of them have been in solitary. She has endured sexual assault and has not been getting proper medical treatment. She recently managed to collect the semen from a rapist prison guard to prove the sexual assault and the guard was detained for one year before a judge ruled that she had “consented” to the prison guard. She has also been denied visits. According to sources in correspondence with her, there is concern about her considering self harm. She is demanding that she get transferred to a women’s prison, which is a reasonable demand as she is a womin.

Here is an open letter to Esra:

Dear Esra,

When I read your story, my heart went out to you. I hope you can keep finding the strength to keep on keeping on, to push through life even though life can be a struggle. Each day you continue living may be difficult but each breath you take is like a tiny act of resistance against those who have hurt you, those who oppress you. You are a brave womin who deserves the world’s admiration. What has happened to you is not okay. There is no justification to how you have been treated. The pigs that did you harm don’t even deserve the air in their lungs.

I may have never met you but you are my compañera and I admire you. Please try to stay strong and never give up. I believe in you. I hope that you get to taste freedom again. Keep on living and loving and never stop fighting for your freedom and dignity. You have comrades and sisters around the world. Someday, when we win we can dance on the ashes of prisons everywhere.

Solidarity and Sisterhood,

~Esperanza Orozco

Letters to Esra can be sent to:

Samsun E Tipi Kapalı Cezaevi
B-4 Koğuşu


Esperanza is an openly queer mujerista and a xicana power activist and writer from North Carolina, USA. She is involved with the Autonomous Womyn’s Front, an anarcha-feminist resistance organization, on a variety of intersecting issues. She has also worked in the past with Occupy Patriarchy Ann Arbor and a variety of other organizations.
Edited by Manisha 

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