Turkish Trans Singers

Monday, April 13, 2009

I've recently been listening to two Turkish singers on Spotify, whose names I had seen in Garth Cartwright's Princes Amongst Men. The album covers showed very made-up, glamorous-for-the-80s women, but I was a little confused when I heard their quite masculine voices.

Bulent Ersoy Zeki Muren

Turns out that one of the singers is transexuals and the other transvestite. I would never have thought Turkey the place where trans musicians flourish or are even popular, but seemingly so.

Neither of them could be described as particularly poppy, however.

The first, Bülent Ersoy, began her career as a male singer. Already popular, in 1981, she went to London for a sex change operation. Ersoy kept the name Bülent even though it is a more common male name.

Zeki Müren began his musical career in 1951, which went on to span 45 years, enjoying popularity not only in Turkey but also internationally. Müren dressed effeminately, wearing large, ornate rings and heavy make up, especially later in life. He died in 1996.

Have a listen