News / Middle East

Gay Documentary Makes Inroads in Turkey

Gay Documentary Makes Inroads in Turkeyi
X
March 05, 2013 2:54 PM
In Turkey homosexuality is legal, but remains highly contentious in the conservative, predominantly Muslim, society. Hate crimes are not unusual, often carried out by family members. But a Turkish documentary called "My Child" is telling a different story, of a parents support group that is seeking to change attitudes. Dorian Jones has the story from Istanbul.
Dorian Jones
Homosexuality in Turkey is legal, but remains highly contentious in the predominantly conservative Muslim society. Hate crimes are not unusual, often times carried out by fellow family members. But a Turkish documentary called My Child is telling a different story.

The Gala Night in Istanbul of the documentary My Child drew a packed audience. The powerful film tells the story of Listag a parent's support group of lesbian gay bisexual and transgender children, or LGBT. It follows the group, helping fellow parents come to terms with their children's sexuality as well as challenging prejudice in society.

Director Can Candan hopes the film will help challenge traditional attitudes towards LGBT people.

"We want to bring about change in this society. And we feel this documentary could do that by bringing these stories of the parents of LGBT individuals to general public," he said.

A leading newspaper made the film frontpage news, reporting positively on the parents' work. The Turkish media are more accustomed to reporting about attacks and even murders by parents or family of gay people.

But Turkish society appears to be changing. Last year Istanbul hosted its 20th Gay Pride Day, drawing a record attendance of thousands. Two women from the group were invited in June by the main opposition party to address a parliamentary commission. 

Metehan Ozkan of the LGBT group Lambda and who helped to set up Listag says prejudice and hate crimes remain a common problem in Turkey. But he claims the Listag parents  play a crucial role in challenging prejudices."
 
"In one of the prides here, I have seen these people saying 'look at these faggots they are again on the streets.' Then one of guys says 'look at this, someone is holding a placard that says, I am your father and I am next to you. Aha, this is something brave,' he says, just right after he said faggots," he said. "They are great icebreakers, they can manage to talk to people that we cannot directly talk to. This parliament visit, they shook hands with many MPs there, just saying, 'I am a mother, do you have a child, do you?' 'Yes I did do.'  'Ok my child is gay or trans [transgender], then do something for my child.'"

Attending the opening of the documentary, Sule Ceylan, one of the members of  the Listag delegation that visited parliament, believes Turkey is moving in the right direction.

"Surely things have changed. We went to the parliament as two mothers and we really startled them," she said. "They showed a lot of interest in us. They see that these children are not coming from outer space. They are not freaks. They have mothers, families. They were impressed. We are here today, an incredible crowd. I am very, very excited. I believe there will be more beautiful things happening. I can see that."

In a packed cinema the film was warmly received. Speaking to the audience it is clear there is widespread recognition that the film is highlighting the important work of the parents.

"It's not an activist film, it's a family film," said one audience member. "They are parents of those individuals. They love them and are ready to die for them. They can do everything for their children and they are doing it. It's very brave what they have done."

The documentary is being shown across Turkey and in a special screening that was shown in neighboring Armenia and in the Palestinian territory city of Ramallah. The hope of the filmmaker and the parents is that barriers can be continued to be broken down not only in Turkey but also eventually across the region.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid