Michelle Demishevich was fired yesterday after experiencing discrimination at her job as Turkey’s first and presently only transgender reporter. But according to LGBT Turkey she wasn’t fired becuse of her trans status.
Two months ago Demishevich told Her.ie:
Activism is not about only marching on the streets with flags. What I call activism is my working as TV reporter when other trans people are only depicted negatively by the media. It is important to show that ‘others’ are also capable of doing meaningful things. Therefore, I decided to march with my flag in the hand. At work, I am just like everyone. My gender identity is out of question. I love my job.”
Demishevich said one of the main reasons she was sacked was because of her reporting of Turkey Airlines recent Ban on red lipstick.
IMC TV’s correspondent spoke to Pembe Hayat after her employment contract was terminated. Michelle, explaining that within the last three months she had been heavily subjected to mobbing, said, “I was employed at a low salary, without insurance. Recently I was getting warnings about my clothes and the color of my hair. Finally even my use of red lipstick started to be a problem. These things are totally different from motives arising from transphobia. It is on account of my identity as a woman that I was subjected to discrimination and marginalization. Women working at the organization are living witnesses to the fact that I was subjected to mobbing. When they learned that I had been sacked, they gave me great support; they encouraged me to fight.”
Stating that she had been summoned by the general manager of the organization this morning and her employment had been terminated, Michelle said, “They decided that we should part ways because they thought that I had violated professional ethics. According to what the general manager said, there was no problem with gender identity. My attitude and conduct reportedly caused a disturbance. It was not my gender identity, but my attire, the color of my hair, and my use of red lipstick that was considered intolerable. They tried to make me sign a paper stating that I waived my employee rights. My lawyer warned me and I did not sign it. At the moment I am an unemployed journalist.”
IMC TV, on the other hand, released a statement denying the allegations on red lipstick and inappropriate dressing for the layoff reason and claimed that there had been complaints from news sources regarding Demishevich’s temper.
“Lastly, she was assigned to report from Saturday Mothers/People of Turkey sit-ins on September 13 where she had an argument with some of their representatives and allegedly told them inappropriate things – which was the last drop in the bucket,” IMC TV said in a statement.
Constitutionally Turkey is a secular country but is struggling to define its self nationally with a majority Sunni population. This is just speculative since I live in the US, but we are also struggling with religious extremism in the form of the Southern Baptists.
“Which lipstick doesn’t suit you!”