TURKEY: New Psychological Torture for Gays from GATA: “Facing the Family”

Criticized in the previous years for asking gays to bring photos of them taken during sexual intercourse in order for them to receive a so-called “rotten” (unfit) report that would exempt them from mandatory military service, Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) now gave up on this method and found a derivative of it.

GATA* military hospital in Haydarpaşa, Istanbul, which gays who want to receive a “rotten” report are frequently referred to, now asks to “meet the family” [of the applicant]. Gays who desperately try to explain that they are not out to their family are told: “No worries, we will just ask about your ’development’ starting from childhood”.

GATA, one of the military hospitals that is criticized due to its attitude towards gays, continues to pressure them psychologically. E.A. (25), who made an application at the GATA in Haydarpaşa the day before, talked about what he went through:

“For the last two days, I’ve been running around till late evening, getting referrals from place to place, and finally I’ve been directed to Haydarpaşa. Then I’ve been taken to a female doctor. A male doctor was examining other people at the next desk. I’ve answered typical questions I’d been expecting, like “For how long have you been feeling this way?”, “Do you want to be a woman?”. They asked to see my family; I said I wasn’t out to my family and the doctor didn’t insist much. She said that my memberships to [LGBT] associations and my articles and interviews on gay news websites and magazines might be sufficient. So I said “OK” and I brought my documents to the interview on the second day. I also made the psychological tests in the meantime.

The interview on the next day was to be with a specialist. I started waiting at 9 in the morning and he didn’t arrive until 3:30 in the afternoon; apparently, he had a meeting. Once he arrived, I went into his room. The male doctor who was examining people next to the female doctor the day before was also there. They didn’t so much glance at the documents I’d brought. While I was talking about my articles, my interviews, and that I could prove my struggle during the former Minister Aliye Kavaf incident with documents, they shut me up and said: “You can show them to the [health] board” and they asked to see my family. (I guess the claims that once they were asking for gays’ photos taken during anal intercourse have made them so sensitive that they couldn’t even look at the articles). When I said I’m not out to my family and that these documents should be enough, the specialist pointed out that he will be the judge of that, spoke in a disrespectful manner and repeated that he wants to see my family. When I said once again that I’m not out to my family, he said: “Don’t worry, we need to ask about your development” and decided that an appointment should be given for the [health] board and that there should be a meeting with the family. He also asked to see the families of the other gay men who were there that day for a report.”

E.A. stressed that the family meeting is a new policy of intimidation and followed: “I’ve been given a date for the end of April for the board. I was told that I needed to arrange a family meeting until then and then they shut me up and showed me the door. Isn’t it downright psychological torture to say they’ll ask for my development, as if to mock me, even though I told them that my family doesn’t know I’m gay? And although I had taken a three-finger-thick collection of news, interviews and articles on homosexuality, all of which are published... I can only see this as bad intention”.

* “GATA” is the Turkish acronym for Gülhane Military Medical Academy.
Saturday, March 3rd, 2012
News: Erkan Altay
Translation: Öner Ceylan
Published in English on March 14th, 2012

Source: http://www.kaosgl.org/page.php?id=10824