Being a Part of LGBTQ!: From the Perspective of a Gay Undergraduate

Posted On 3/10/2019 11:19:00 PM, 0Comments

This is an interview with a gay university student. His personality will be kept confidential. All permission given by him was done through a consent form. The interviewer and the interviewee have a copy of the consent form.

  • Can you tell me a little about yourself?

- I’m Bu─čra. I’m 18 years old and will be 19 years old this year. I came out to my friend as a bisexual but gayer boy when we were 16 years old or younger.

  • In Turkey, what do people do or say (or not do or say) if they want to be seen as gay (lesbian) (straight)?

- It is easy to be seen as gay. To be seen as gay, you should express your enjoyment in life in public, and you should have more female friends more than male friends. You do not have to do or say anything further.

  • How is this different in another country? How is it similar?

- Most of the European countries have made a law that allows same-sex marriage. It is absolutely easier to be LGBTQI+ member in such countries. Because homophobic people know what will happen to them if they hurt anyone who is a member of LGBTQI+

  • Why do people sometimes want to be seen as straight (bisexual) (lesbian)? Why do they sometimes not want to?

- Like my situation, most of us were threatened by our families to be kicked out of the whole family. Who does not want to conceal it either knows that they are supported b their families or already kicked out of the family at a very young age? So they have no fear to be “labeled” as persona-non-grata.

  • Is it easy to identify someone as gay (straight) (lesbian)? Why or why not?

- I’m a bit of Gaydar myself that means a person who can identify people if they are gay or not. To understand if a person is gay or not, search their phones to find some apps that just programmed for gays. In any cases, you can’t be sure if they are gay or not unless they reveal it.

  • In Turkey/your university, which gender identities seem natural or acceptable? Which do not? How can you tell?

- My university is Sakarya University and as far as I know, it is more conservative. So, every gender except male and female aren’t welcome by society. As far as I see, some of the people of my university have liberal thoughts. They respect us even if they aren’t one of us.

  • After people move from Turkey, do they change how they think about gender identities? If so, how? If not, why not?

- Some of them change ‘their’ minds. The reason for this is they had to conceal their thoughts because of the environment. I meant those don't belong them, those minds belong to other people who run the society by quoting ‘their’. To talk about the people who don’t change their minds are really bad people (about homophobic people) because every part of the world is the same for them. They always think that every part of the world is the same as theirs.

  • How about when foreigners move to Turkey?

- If a gay moves into, they have to conceal their thoughts. Most of the people who are residents in Turkey are homophobic. If they reveal their thoughts, they might be discriminated.

  • How safe do you think your university or your province for LGBT students? How do you know?

- It isn’t safe at all. I know both my university and Sakarya are conservative.

  • What do you think to be an ally to LGBT students mean?

- As far as I understand the question, if there was an LGBTIQ+ group that consists of ‘really gay and not just curious’ that would be great.

  • Who can be an ally in your university or province?

- I have some friends that know my situation and I have a boy in my life who is boyfriend-to-be. I can’t tell their names in the name of privacy.

  • What are some examples of things people can do to demonstrate being an ally in our school?

- To be an ally to us, you should just make us feel that you are safe and respectful.

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Vildan Kurtoglu

4th year student in English Language Teaching at Sakarya University