Istanbul transgender guide, bars, clubs and more

Turkish Lesbians Istanbul Lesbian Guide

Just like gays and lesbians, transgender people are more visible in Istanbul's most liberal districts such as Beyoglu and Taksim. Most of them live in the near-by quarters such as Cihangir, Harbiye and Kurtulus. Most of the trans-clubs are also located around Taksim. It is also possible to contact them in several cruising areas and on the internet. No surprisingly, almost all transvestites and transsexuals earn their living from prostitution, and actually there is a considerable demand for them as a result of 'bisexual' culture of the country. Most of the trans people living in Istanbul are transvestites. Although they do not have sex-change operations, majority of transvestites/shemales use woman hormones, have silicon tits, undergo esthetic operations, epilating etc. and they look completely as transsexuals from outside. Rarely, some queers/gay men can also go to several gay or trans clubs as drag-queens /cross dressers on weekend nights, especially on Saturdays.

Trans Bars and Clubs in Istanbul

Before going into a trans-club in Istanbul you should know the rituals. There are regular transvestites and transsexuals in every club, who are associated with the management as b-girls/hostesses. The major patrons of trans-clubs are middle aged bi-sexual men. Although they are not officially employed the duty of the regular "girls" is to make these clients buy them drink. That is, if any one of them sits and talks with you at the bar or at your table, this means you should buy and pay for her drinks too. In this case the drinks you offer them are roughly double priced, which is also known by the loyal clients. The trans-girls take their commission from the extra drinks offered to them individually. If you are avoiding this make sure to explain the bar-staff that you are not paying their drinks. The trans-girls can go out with clients, for which the bargain should be done in advance and clearly. Club girls may cost you more, but ultimately they are more trustable than the ones you meet in the outdoor cruising places .

Sahra Club (24:00-04:00)
Address: Istiklal Cad. Sadri Alisik Sokak, No: 42 Beyoglu Istanbul.
Web: Sahra  (Click for guest reviews, videos, pictures and more)
It is located on the right hand side of Sadri Alisik, across the small mosque (Huseyin Aga Camii) on Istiklal Avenue. It is comparatively cheaper than other transvestite clubs and mostly patronized by young ghetto boys who like Tgirls and she-males, as well as some gay men and flamboyant queers on weekend nights who like this type of boys. Besides regular transvestites, this is where you can see cross-dressers usually on Saturday nights. Do not go here with a lot of money and watch your wallet.

Super Fabric (23:00 - 04:00)
Address: Cumhuriyet Caddesi No: 42  Elmadag / Sisli, Istanbul, Turkey
Web:Super Fabric (Click for guest reviews, videos, pictures and more)
Even though the majority of the clients are gay men, Superfabric is also a very transgender friendly venue, where you can see many trans people. It is located some 10 minutes walking distance to the north of Taksim Square somewhere on Cumhuriyet Caddesi avenue that goes towards Harbiye / Sisli districts, roughly across from Konak Hotel.

Following venues have been closed down
The trans clubs are no more as popular as they used to be after the internet become widespread. Consequently, some of the venues closed down or changed their concept in recent years.
Bahriyeli Pub - This venue has been closed for good in 2022
Club 17 - Closed during Covid 19 period
No Name / Prive Club - Closed down in 2018.
Club 1001 - Closed down as trans club, Re-opened with a different name with a completely different concept.
Hengame - Closed down in 2012
Ege 97 Closed down completely.
Cabare 33 The venue is open but it is no more a trans club.
Pink Club The venue is open but it is no more a trans club.

Transgender Cruising

There are some streets known for cruising transvestites and transsexuals who are out there for making prostitution in most cases. They do "hitchhiking" on the high-ways outside of the city. They also hang around on the main street between Taksim and Şişli visibly, mostly with their cars and after midnight. This kind of cruising places are not safe in general, and you should not be carrying a lot of money on you, more than you do not mind to loose. There are also a few back-streets in Beyoglu and Sisli Districts where they live in several buildings collectively, such as  Kucuk Bayram Sokak and Ulker Sokak 

Transgender Solidarity

Trans-people fight for their rights and support each other more than the local gay-people in Istanbul. Unfortunately they are introduced to the society negatively as aggressive people by the mass media, mostly screening their fierce reaction to police pressure. The news about them is mostly headlined in the newspapers as "Travesti Teroru" (transvestite terror). Transsexuals are welcomed and represented in city's major gay & lesbian association called Lambda Istanbul. Whereas, some of them has separated from Lambda in 2009 to form a new solidarity group, called Istanbul LGBTI to concentrate more intensively on the problems and rights of transvestite & transsexual people living in Istanbul.  There is another solidarity group called Pembe Hayat (Pink Life) which is more concentrated on Transgender rights, but it is based in Ankara

There are no specific laws against trans-people, but the public pressure and discrimination is very common. Despite this, some irreverent laws and regulations have been used against them in many cases. Sometimes, they are fined for making prostitution, which is actually illegal in Turkey. Transsexuals can obtain a have women ID officially, based on a report given by a committee of doctors and have equal rights with women, including marriage.


Trans Friendly Beauty Parlors

Yasmin Estetik

Address: Barbaros Bulvarı No:36 / 5 Balmumcu, Beşiktaş.(ATV Binası karşısı)
Owned by a lovely and very LGBT friendly lady, Yasmin Estetik is a beauty parlor offering almost all services you can get from a beauty parlor including botoks, skin care treatments, laser depilation etc.

Address: Rumeli Cad. Baytar Ahmet Sok. No:2 Kat:4 Nişantasi – Istanbul
A very gay & LGBT friendly beauty parlor located very centrally in upscale Nisantasi district. They offer typical services you could find in beauty saloons such as such as laser hair removal, skin care,  botox treatment, hair transplantation, manicure, pedicure and other similar  beauty care services . Their prices are very reasonable.

Click here for a complete list of gay LGBT friendly shopping guide of Istanbul.

Bulent Ersoy is very popular classical Turkish music singer with a very strong voice. She had her sexual transition operation when she was already very famous in 1981. She tried hard to receive a legal women ID in late 1980's, and finally managed. She did not change her name "Bulent" which is a popular name for men only. She is very much respected because of her music career and she has been hosting many popular TV shows on national TV channels. She has also been criticized by Turkish LGBT solidarity groups for not supporting LGBT rights publicly despite her popularity and nation-wide acceptance.. 




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