Gay Turkey

For the gay people who have not visited Turkey before, the first step should be getting familiar with the gay culture. The gay culture of Turkey is fairly different than the gay culture of the western countries, as is the case with the general Turkish culture. Turkey, being situated at the intersection of Europe and Asia geographically, was effected both by the western and oriental cultures. Turkey is the only Muslim country where homosexuality is not illegal. This makes Turkish gay life unique in the world. This difference might be good or bad depending on your expectations, but one thing is for sure: It is very vivacious and interesting.
Note that we avoid to cause another misunderstanding with above explanation, because in the west there is already a very big misunderstanding about Turkish culture. Surprisingly, some people in the west still think of Turkey as a very typical and traditional Middle-Eastern country and some of them even think Turkey is just like other Arabic countries and the religion is dominating everything. In reality, Turkey has got a special culture of her own, much closer to the Western culture than most other Middle Eastern countries, except her incorrigible economy maybe.
To understand the gay life in Turkey, let's analyze two Turkish words: "ibne" and "oglan". Actually, both words literally mean "boy" although they are now being used as expression of insult. "Ibne" is originally exported from Arabic and it is being used with a meaning very close to "faggot" in today's Turkish. Although "oglan" means exactly "boy" in formal Turkish, it is often being used to mean "gay" in slang language. Their present meanings' got a historical background:
As we all know, a boy is not a man, not hairy, without beard, with a voice more like a woman, he's got a softer skin etc....As you can easily notice, these are all descriptions of a woman. Especially at times when religion was stronger, a boy could probably be the substitution of a woman. This might be a key to understand the remains of the history in modern Turkish gay culture. Today, the dominating gay-life style for the gay people living in Turkey is between two groups; the "active" ones who would NOT mostly accept to be called "gay" and who are mostly bisexuals, and the "passive" ones who pretend to be women in bed, and who act and sometimes dress themselves up more effeminately. So the first question after meeting a gay-related person might very possibly be "Are you passive or active (bottom or top) ?"
Spreading use of the English word "gay" also is an indication of changing gay culture in recent years. Other people are also getting more conscious about gay people and accepting their different sexual identity more. But still there's a long way to go, and maybe it's questionable which life style is better.
Maybe, these different cultures might be considered as an advantage for gay people in Turkey in a way, since they have at least the two alternatives to choose as their life styles.

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