Hande Öncü, Turkish transgender asylum seeker living in Vienna murdered
Having left Turkey for Vienna due to transphobic pressure, trans woman Hande Öncü was killed in a hate crime. Öncü’s body will be brought back to Turkey thanks to Trans Angels’ extensive efforts.
Hande Öncü, a transwoman from Turkey in Vienna, lost her life in a hate crime. Öncü was choked to death by unidentified people who tied her arms and legs behind her back. Her body will be returned to Turkey as a result of extensive efforts.
Öncü had applied for asylum in Austria and had been living in Vienna for approximately a year and a half. Öncü had applied for asylum because of the trans discrimination she had experienced in Turkey.
Öncü’s trans friends in Turkey were saddened by the hate crime that took her life. Trans Angels, an association that aims to improve the support network among trans individuals, immediately organized the effort to bring Öncü’s body back to Turkey.
Her body is being brought back to Izmir
Öncü’s body was to be cremated because of her refugee status, but Trans Angels refused cremation and collected the amount of money necessary to bring the body back to Turkey. Öncü’s body will be returned to Turkey wrapped in a rainbow flag.
Öykü Ay from Trans Angels spoke to KaosGL about the process remarking that they are supporting each other as trans women as usual. Ay said, “We can’t assent to the cremation of a friend who had escaped to Vienna because of the transphobic violence here. We have organized from Edirne to Kars and have taken responsibility for our friend. We collected money and paid for the autopsy and freight. We have also taken on the cost of the funeral.”
“Once again, we have seen the hypocrisy of society and the family”
İlayda, an LGBTI activist from Istanbul and Öncü’s roommate in Izmir, reminisced about her late friend:
“She was a very dear friend of ours. We spent a great time together. She used to see me off at the airport every time I left the town to go to meetings and panels. She would go everywhere with her friends; she would look after them. May the lights be her companion. We’re losing many of our friends to hate crimes. Not another day goes by without losing another friend. It was particularly hard this time because it happened abroad. The fact that the family has refused to claim the body of our friend shows the hypocrisy of society and the families.”
Öncü’s body is being brought back to Izmir. She will be laid to rest shortly with Trans Angels and her friends in attendance.