This short biography is derived from the scanty sources that I have found on Emel, and
contains many inaccuracies. If you can send me more
accurate information, preferably in English, I would be very grateful.
Emel Aydan was a
pioneering male-to-female transsexual. If she had been born in
the USA or UK, she would probably be as well-known as her contemporary's
such as Renee Richards
and Caroline Cossey.
This photo is claimed to be of Erdoğan Kaşif.
Please contact me
if you can confirm either way.
Emel and inset as the transitioning Erdoğan
Emel was born a boy in 1951
in Istanbul, Turkey, and named Erdoğan Kaşif. His father, Hüseyin Kaşift,
worked in the threate and as child Erdoğan appeared in several plays and
possibly (unconfirmed) as an extra in movies during the 1960's.
possibly showing Emel (or Amal), reporting
for military service in December 1968.
Erdoğan had begun to to question his gender
by the time he became a teenager.
But he was officially registered as a "male" and in 1968 - age 17 - he was called up for
compulsory military service. Objecting to conscription, he apparently contacted
who photo'ed and reported his arrival for service dressed as a girl - he
called herself Amal, the Arabic word for "Desire".
After a physical examination at a military hospital "to determine if he
had a female body" he was discharged, presumably considered unsuitable
to serve as a soldier.
As Emel she then transitioned to
living full-time as a woman. With the financial support of her family
she had sex-reassignment surgery at a clinic in Rome in 1971, age 20.
She then worked for several years at night clubs in Italy and
as a stripper with the stage name 'Rita Santiago'.
Emel returned to Turkey in
1974 and tried to begin a career as a professional singer.
Unfortunately, she was unable to make a living from this and again had to
seek the help of her family.
movie posters featuring Emel (left) and her stepmother, Nur
(right), and another poster below with both of them.
In Horoz Gibi Maşallah, Emel(right)
and Nur (middle) compete for the same man
Emel's father was now
working as a show Director. He had divorced Emel's mother and married a famous striptease artist
with the stage name Nur Ay - who was only 11 years older than Emel. Emel's
stepmother soon became her best friend and they would appeared together in
numerous erotic films and
photo-shoots, even after Nur Ay's marriage with Hüseyin Kaşif
failed. Youtube has a wonderful clip showing them
to the influence of her
parents, in 1975 Emel Aydan had a starring role in her first-ever movie, the soft-porn Hızlım Benim (My Fast Learner). Although
only 24, her role was that of an experienced older-woman seducing a teenage boy.
The film was a success and Emel then appeared in about 25 more movies in very quick succession - there seems to be no definitive
list. These were mostly the low budget comedies or
drama's with an erotic slant that were hugely popular in Turkey at the time.
An incomplete list of Emel's movies includes:
1975 Hızlım Benim (Comedy)
1975 Ah Nerede Vah Nerede
1975 Bu Kutu Baska Kutu
1975 Tatli Erkegim Benim (Drama)
1975 Horoz Gibi Masallah (Adventure)
1975 Sansar (Drama)
1975 Ye Beni Mahmut (Comedy)
1976 Kadinin Aarisi
1976 Lüküs Hayat (Comedy)
1976 Kayıkçının Küreği (Comedy)
1976 Yarim İstanbul' u Mesken mi Tuttun (Drama)
1976 Yumurtanin Sarisi (Drama)
1976 Kader Bu (Avare) (Adventure)
1977 Enayiler Krali (Comedy)
1977 Ask Arzu ve Silah (Drama)
1977 Hayata Dönüs
1977 Ölüm Döşeği
1977 Gönül Ferman Dinlemez (Drama)
1977 Vur Gözünün Üstüne (Drama)
1978 Ne Olacak Simdi (Comedy)
1979 Babanin Kizlari (Drama)
1979 Vur Vur Kaç Kaç (Drama)
1979 Erkeğim Benim
The production rate was prolific, at times in
the mid-1970's Emel was appearing in cinemas in a new movie
Some more of the many 1970's
Turkish film posters featuring Emel.
Several feature Nur Ay.
Whilst many posters hint at erotic scenes, these tend to be
quite tame by modern standards.
on the front cover of the popular
Turkish men's magazine
Most but not all of the movies included scenes of an erotic nature with
Emel scantly clad or in a state of undress (e.g. in a bath). Several have shots of her
being intimate with a man, although rarely
sufficiently provocative or lengthy for a "18" or even "15" classification
in the UK - many modern TV series have more revealing
On the set of the 1975 movie Ah Nerede
Emel encountered the actor
with whom she had appeared in several plays
whilst still a teenage boy. At first he
was very flattering to Emel and was clearly
trying to chat her up, but
he started to become puzzled. He finally asked if she was Erdoğan,
and she nodded "yes". He didn't talk to
her again until they filmed a sex scene several
front cover of Emel's
Türk Müziğinden Anılar
During the 1970's Emel often appeared in men's
magazines such as Adam, Bravo, Modern and
Emel also continued to aspire as a signer and released
several songs, by far the most
successful of these was her 1980 long-play
single Türk Müziğinden Anılar ("Memories of Turkish Music")
Emel's acting career ceased
after a military coup in Turkey in September 1979, the new regime
banning the production and distribution of pornographic movies.
Emel also doesn't appear in any men's magazines after 1980 - although
her increasing age could be a simple explanation for this.
In 1980 Emel returned to
working in night clubs. For a few years Emel's father -
Hüseyin - directed
erotic shows in the theatre that he now owned that featured both his daughter (Emel) and wife (Nur).
Emel seems to have withdrawn from "show-biz" by the mid-1980's.
Posts on the internet suggest
is well, has had several marriages, and is living in Istanbul
died in 1993, and stepmother Nur in 2016.
The most remarkable aspect of Emel's career is her passability
and acceptance as a woman. She never
tried to hide that she was transsexual, but her
numerous movies never hint
that she was a transsexual.
Her attractive face, feminine voice, typically female height
(just 5ft 4in - 163cm),
and well rounded body (popular in Turkey) resulted in millions of movie go'ers
accepting her as female. The same applies to her photo shoots in
magazine's, during the 1970's numerous military conscriptions must have
had pin-up photos of Emel on the back of their locker door without realising
the irony. Only in newspaper articles is revealed that shw was a
critical, Emel's breasts
are obviously implants in her movie scenes, although this is less
evident on posters and in photo shoots. But breast
augmentation was still quite rare in the 1970s, so many movie
go'ers may not have
recognised this. Also, shots of Emel's vulva in movies are
rare and indistinct when compared to other actresses appearing in sex
scenes in the same movies,
suggesting that Emel had a poor appearance - common for SRS
surgery performed in the 1960 and 1970's.
An oddity is that Emel was
still in her mid-20's when she made all her movies, but appears older
and plays a middle aged woman in her very first film. Most
actresses in their mid-20's try to pass as a teenager!
Possibly Emel was born earlier than 1951, but that can't be advanced
more than a few years without then questioning her fathers date of birth
(1927), and his probable marriage date to her mother (1949).