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 On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid