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Turkish gays must humiliate themselves to avoid army service

BY ROB SALERNO – The CBC and BBC have a horrifying story about the things gay Turkish men must do to prove they’re gay so that they’re disqualified from compulsory military service. 

In order to prove their homosexuality, gay Turks are forced to submit to medical exams, even though doctors there have sworn there’s no way to diagnose homosexuality. Conscripts describe being forced to answer humiliating questions about their tastes in sports and music and about whether they enjoy wearing women’s clothes and perfume. 

One conscript describes being asked to submit pictures of himself in drag, kissing a male partner or having sex. He says he was told his face must be visible and he must be the passive partner for it to count.

To be clear, this is all so that gay Turks can take advantage of an anti-gay, discriminatory law to get out of an obligation they’d rather not pursue but that all Turks are compelled to fulfill.

Sure, it would be preferable for there not to be compulsory military service at all, but the end of the anti-gay discrimination would eliminate the need to prove one’s homosexuality while also compelling these gays to do the awful thing they’re forced to degrade themselves to avoid.

That said, the CBC notes that while homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, it’s still very much frowned upon, especially outside of the big cities. It’s conceivable that the anti-gay culture of the Turkish military contibutes to the hostile environment they’re trying to avoid. (But I would bet it has more to do with the rocket fire from rebels and enemy combatants.)

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