The Turkish drag queen fighting for transgender rights

Seyhan Arman is a transgender rights activist, actress and drag queen. She was born in Adana, Turkey, but left her family home when she was 15 years old.

In 2000, she moved to Istanbul to work as a singer in a number of underground night clubs, becoming involved with the political LGBT+ community Lambda Istanbul. Eventually, she took to the stage as drag queen Matmazel Coco, or Mademoiselle Coco, performing at nightclubs and entertainment events.

The 39-year-old’s career isn’t without risks. According to the Trans Murder Monitoring report, Turkey has been ranked first in transgender murders over the past 10 years in Europe, with approximately 60 transgender people killed over the last decade. In June, police fired tear gas at people gathered to celebrate Pride Week.

Arman hasn’t let this stop her. She began her professional acting career in 2014 and was nominated for Best Actress for her performance in the theatrical drama Küründen Kabare, which translates as Cabaret of Sham, which she wrote and produced over two seasons, telling the story of her life as an LGBT+ individual. After this success, she starred in several TV series and movies. Most recently she has been working dubbing the voice of drag queen character Electra in the Netflix series Pose.

When asked about her sexuality, Seyhan says: “I discovered something different about me just before primary school. I couldn’t name it during that time. I didn’t know any other transsexuals or homosexuals besides me, and I thought that I was the only one in the world. I thought that there had been a mistake.”

She continues: “I really don’t care about my physical transformation. It doesn’t matter whether I have long or short hair. My breast prosthesis, hormonal support or surgical operations don’t matter to me. The important thing is my soul; that has never changed. This is the only thing that I care about.”

EPA

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