Mr Gay Syria: A defiant documentary about LGBTQ refugees in Turkey

Published March 5th, 2017 - 01:41 GMT
People hold a giant rainbow flag during a gay parade on June 30, 2013 in Istanbul. [AFP/Gurcan Ozturk]
People hold a giant rainbow flag during a gay parade on June 30, 2013 in Istanbul. [AFP/Gurcan Ozturk]

Female Turkish director Ayşe Toprak has taken a sensitive subtopic of the Syrian refugee crisis, LGBTQ refugees, and turned it into a documentary. The film aims to shed light on one of the most vulnerable populations among those seeking shelter from war and chaos.

The documentary, called Mr Gay Syria, follows two Syrian refugees living in Turkey, one of whom decides to host a beauty contest for other gay refugees in order to find a contestent for Mr Gay World 2016. Ms Toprac characterized the event as, "a way of surviving" for a handful of LGBTQ individuals during the aftermath of escaping a brutal war, according to a recent interview featured in The Guardian.

Check out some footage from the feature-length film, as well as some director commentary: 

Though there are hate crimes against the LGBTQ community all over the world, the Middle East can be an especially hostile place for non-heterosexuals to reside. Life for LGBTQ people in the region can often result in persecution, ostracization, and sometimes even death for one’s sexual orientation or identity. Hopefully, Ms Toprak’s documentary and other similar works will encourage conservative societies to take positive steps toward seeing that all people deserve respect and are entitled to live a peaceful life free from harm.

LM

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