|Born||June 9, 1952|
|Genres||Ottoman classical music|
|Years active||1971 -|
Bülent Ersoy (born June 9, 1952) is a transwoman Turkish celebrity and popular singer of Ottoman classical music. Over the years, Ersoy has become a symbol for the increased tolerance for LGBT figures in Turkish media.
Bülent began her career as a male singer, in the genre of Turkish Classical Music, and became an actor early on. Already one of Turkey's most popular male singers and actors, Bülent Ersoy gained international notoriety in 1981 after having sex reassignment surgery in London by a British plastic surgeon. Ersoy kept the name "Bülent" even though it is a male name.
After the operation, Bülent found herself in opposition to the 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.
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 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 Later that same year, Evren left office and many of his policies were rescinded.
Ersoy continued her career mostly in Germany in addition to Turkey. Along with her musical career, she made several Turkish movies in Germany. During that time she also started having a relationship with Birol Gürkanlı.
Finally, in 1988, the Turkish Civil Code was revised so that those who completed sex reassignment surgery could apply for a pink or blue (pink for female, blue for male) identity card by which they were legally recognized in their new sex. Ersoy soon returned to singing and acting, becoming more popular as a woman than she had been as a man. Her public even took to calling her "Abla," or "elder sister," an affectionate sign of their total acceptance of her gender.
Despite her personal victory and acceptance of her fans, Bülent Ersoy has continued to court controversy. Critics noted that in a film in which Ersoy plays a cancer patient who falls in love, she never kisses her leading man, though this may have had to do with her being highly germ phobic. On her 1995 album, Alatürka, she sang the adhan as part of the piece, "Aziz İstanbul," an act which, because of her transsexual status, angered many Muslim clerics. In 1998, a further storm of controversy was created when Bülent married her companion, Cem Adler. Interestingly, the public outrage that resulted had nothing to do with Ersoy's transsexual status but rather that her husband was over twenty years younger than she was.
Bülent Ersoy was badly injured in January 1999 while driving with her husband, but recovered after surgery. Later that year, she divorced Adler after learning of his tryst with a call girl. Now semi-retired, she continues to perform in many TV shows and serves as jury member on one of Turkey's most popular television shows, "Popstar Alaturka".
Ersoy married "Popstar Alaturka" contestant Armağan Uzun in July 2007, however filed for divorce in January 2008. She also made a show in July 2007 and is making new series of Popstars Alaturka which is expected to start in September 2007. There are also rumors of a new album produced by Erol Kose.
Ersoy sparked major controversy in February 2008 when she publicly criticised Turkey's incursion into Northern Iraq and said she "would not send her sons to war" if she were a mother. An Istanbul public prosecutor has subsequently filed charges against her for "turning Turks against compulsory military service", an article which also brought prominent Turkish intellectual Perihan Magden to trial in recent past. The Turkish Human Right Foundation (IHD) have stood up to Ersoy's defence. On 19 December 2008 Ersoy was pronounced not guilty of charges by a Turkish court. 
In the show 'Popstar Alaturka', Bülent Ersoy has announced that she will be beginning a new album project very soon and the album is expected to be ready by the end of. Although she did not announce what would be genre of the album, it is expected that it will be hybrid of Turkish Classical style and 'Arabesk'. Selami Sahin who is a famous songwriter in Turkey is also said to have composed two new songs for Ersoy.
In August 2009; Bulent Ersoy announced that she had postponed making a new album due to the economic crisis at the present state of bad sales in the Turkish Music Industry.
Popstar Alaturka Season 2009 proved to be the last time Ersoy was on the show. Alongside Bulent Ersoy, Armagan Caglayan also left his seat as Jury in the show.