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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid