Homosexuality is always a popular topic in Turkey because there are always some people who do not want to admit its existence. While some people respect sexual choices, some are prejudiced. One of those strict rules even may be banning a member from the family because of her/his sexual choice. Those families may be religious or effected by the media. Although homosexuality is the reality which a lot of Turkish people usually do not want to accept it, the number of homosexual people who was able to express their identity is rapidly increasing with the support of social organizations. On the other hand, homosexual people who can express their identities are having also a lot of trouble when they apply for or get into a job. Therefore most of them need to hide their sexual preferences in workplaces to go on without any sexual harassment or discrimination.
Those people who deny having homosexual genes in their blood do not know their history well. In Turkish history, there were a lot of proof pointing out homosexuality, especially in the palace of the Ottoman Empire. While there was harem in the palace, the sultans were taking handsome and physically perfect boys as slaves into the palace (Murray 175). Those men’s mission was palace service. Before getting into the palace service, they were highly educated to serve their Prince in the best way. Sometimes Sultan Suleiman was spending his time with only men and no women (Murray 177). This is what was written in history but there are also some drawings with homosexual compositions. One such visual proof is in Topkapi Palace Museum, named ‘Turkish Bath”: the men are half naked and serving each other (Murray 27). With those obvious examples in Turkish history, the people who deny homosexuality in their blood may think twice. The history is in the past, so what is the status of homosexuality in Turkey now? There are some studies made to see what the general behaviors of Turkish families are. The result of those studies shows that gender discrimination is very wide in Turkey. For example, Turkish parents encourage their daughters to be dependent and obedient whereas they raise their sons with less restriction and independence (Oksal 515). The media has a huge effect on those Turkish parents’ negative attitudes. In traditional Turkish families, parents prefer to use the media as evidence of wrongness than talking about homosexuality with their children. They may give examples of what was happening to homosexuals in Islamic countries or they may use some TV series as a evidence of homosexuality’s immorality. Therefore the children feel some anxiety that expressing their homosexuality would upset their parents in the authority (Oksal 515). Those confusion because of their families, the first step of hiding sexual identity comes into homosexual people’s lives. Beside family troubles, homosexuals can not express themselves even in public areas such as schools because they may not know or measure the reactions after coming out about their true identity. People who met homosexual people before in their lives are calmer and more positive (Çırakoğlu 296). It means that getting people familiar to homosexuality make them respective to sexual preferences and make homosexuals feel better when they think about expressing their sexuality.
The other reason why homosexual people need to hide their sexual preference is sexual harassment and discrimination. When they do not hide their homosexuality, people may call them ‘top’ which is an insulting word or people may ask them how much money they want to have sex with them. Homosexuals may even get physically attacked in public areas where people are intolerant about homosexuals. After those attacks, homosexuals go to the police and ask for help but the answer they get is only a few words like “be more careful” or “do not go out after dark” (Grungras 49). Those advice given by the police actually do not help. Attacks mainly aim refugees or asylum...
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Murray, Stephen O., and Will Roscoe. Islamic Homosexualities. New York: New York University, 1997. Print.
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