Sinem and Aras are transgender and gay activists specifically dedicated to the rights of Lesbians Gays Bisexuals and Transgenders in Turkey and for the rights of Turkish sex workers. Prostitution is legal in Turkey and is regulated by the Turkish government under article 227. However, in recent years there have been a number of near fatal attacks aimed at transgender and gay sex workers in Turkey.
Simen and Aras are part of a group called Pembe Hayat a LGBT Solidarity Association established in Turkey in 2006 by transgender sex workers in reaction to these attacks. The group works with transgender human rights defenders and transgender sex workers who face ongoing threat in Turkey. “Pembe Hayat” means “Pink Life” in Arabic. The group aims to “provide a safe space for transgender sex workers, provide legal and psychological assistance to the community, and carry out advocacy work for the betterment of the existing legislation.”. The organization has faced several threats especially from gangs who are overtly transphobic and have even been raided by the Turkish police force. For more information on the work of Simen and Aras and Pembe Hayat go to www.pembehayat.org