Discover New Music

Last.fm is a music discovery service that gives you personalised recommendations based on the music you play.

Start your Last.fm profile Close window

Bülent Ersoy

Tags

Everyone’s tags

More tags

Biography

Already one of Turkey’s most popular male singers and actors, Bülent Ersoy gained international notoriety in 1981 when he travelled to Great Britain for a sex change operation, a procedure unavailable in his native country. In a further defiance of convention, Ersoy kept the traditionally male name of “Bülent,” rather than exchanging it for a female one, as is usual with male-to-female transsexuals.

Returning to Turkey, Bülent found herself in opposition to the extremely homophobic and transphobic regime of Kenan Evren. In a crackdown on “social deviance,” Ersoy’s public performances were banned along with those of other transsexual and transgendered people. This move actually went against a centuries-old tradition of tolerance for the transgendered in the Turkish society, dating back to the days when the Ottoman sultans kept young male concubines, or celtikci, who were often dressed as women. Performances by male entertainers in drag are also a time-honored and cherished tradition in Turkish culture.

From Ersoy’s standpoint, the ban should not have even applied to her, as she was an actual woman and not simply a man dressed as one. To circumvent the ban, she petitioned the Turkish courts to legally recognize her as a woman. The petition was rejected in January of 1982. Days later, Ersoy attempted suicide. In 1983 she left the entertainment industry in protest of the Evren regime’s repressive policies. Later that same year, Evren left office and many of his policies were rescinded.

Videos

Top Albums

Listening Trend

15,244listeners all time
96,471scrobbles all time
Recent listeners trend:

Start scrobbling and track your listening history

Last.fm users scrobble the music they play in iTunes, Spotify, Rdio and over 200 other music players.

Create a Last.fm profile

Shoutbox

Leave a comment. Log in to Last.fm or sign up.