Second Type Women - Emel Aydan
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Emel Aydan

Note: This short biography is derived from the scanty sources that I have found on Emel, and undoubtedly 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.

Emel and inset as the transitioning Erdoğan

Emel was born a boy on 1 October 1951 in Istanbul, Turkey, and named Erdoğan Kaşif.  His father, H�seyin 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. 

A photo 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 several newspapers 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 he/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 Switzerland as a stripper with the stage name 'Rita Santiago'.

Two 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 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. 

Emel's father was now working as a stage Director, and starting to work in the film industry.  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 eventually appear together in numerous erotic films and photo-shoots, even after Nur Ay's marriage with H�seyin Kaşif failed and they divorced.  Youtube has a wonderful clip showing Emel and Nur Ay together.

Thanks 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 L�k�s Hayat (Comedy)
 1976 Kayık�ının K�reği (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 D�n�s
 1977 �l�m D�şeği
 1977 G�n�l Ferman Dinlemez (Drama)
 1977 Vur G�z�n�n �st�ne (Drama)
 1978 Ne Olacak Simdi (Comedy)
 1979 Babanin Kizlari (Drama)
 1979 Vur Vur Ka� Ka� (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 every month!

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.


Emel on the front cover of the popular Turkish men's magazine Pazar

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 sex scenes.

On the set of the 1975 movie Ah Nerede Vah Nerede, Emel encountered the actor Gazanfer �zcan 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 days later.

The front cover of Emel's record T�rk M�ziğinden Anılar

During the 1970's Emel often appeared in men's magazines such as Adam, Bravo, Modern and Pazar.  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 T�rk M�ziğinden 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 - H�seyin - directed erotic shows in the theatre that he now owned that featured both his daughter (Emel) and his wife (Nur) [Now in their early 40's and 50's respectively!]. 

Emel seems to have withdrawn from "show-biz" by the mid-1980's, probably after getting married - although the marriage may have only have lasted a few years.

Posts on the internet suggest that Emel soon re-married, and is still well and living in Istanbul.

Her father H�seyin sadly 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 had pin-up photos of Emel on the back of their locker door.  Only in occasional newspaper articles is revealed that she was a transsexual women.

Being 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!  The inevitable suspicion is that 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).  However it's nearly impossible to dispute her age given that so many sources state that Emel was born in 1951, combined with a complete lack of alternative dates being offered.


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Last updated: 1 August, 2016