Discrimination | Football | I'm Gay | Sports | Turkey

Gay Turkish Football Referee Fights Back After Firing

Turkey's football federation is "backpedaling" after firing referee Halil Ibrahim Dincdag because he is gay and outing him to the press following a surge of public support in his favor. The surge was in response to the fact that instead of running and hiding,  Dincdag went on a popular sports program to discuss his sexuality.

Halil The Independent reports: "Mr Dincdag's television appearance was an act of considerable courage. Homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, unlike in some other Muslim countries. But homophobia is widespread, no-where more so than in the world of football. 'The crowds shout 'faggot' at referees whose decisions they don't like,' Mr Dincdag said. 'Well, here I am.' His principled stance brought him a wave of support. Three-quarters of Trabzon's 80 referees rang him up to congratulate him. Thirty thousand people signed a petition launched by Turkey's most influential newspaper backing his campaign. One columnist even compared him to Harvey Milk, America's first openly gay politician. Turkey's deputies brought his case to parliament. Most importantly for Mr Dincdag, his pious family, from whom he had kept his homosexuality secret, stood behind him.

Said Dincdag: "They thought I was an ant that they could crush, they thought I would run away and hide in a corner. But they have destroyed my life and I will fight them to the end. The day the press started writing about me, I went into a coma, and the day I appeared on TV I died. Thirty-three years of my life had disappeared. Since then, I have been trying to resurrect myself.""

The football federation now claims that Dincdag was fired for his performance and activists are saying his case has the potential to become a landmark anti-discrimination case because of Turkey's European Union accession bid.

Said Ali Erol, a spokesman for KAOS-GL, an Ankara-based gay and lesbian rights group: "For years, the European Union has been talking about the importance of legislation on sexual discrimination in the workplace. So far Turkey has not taken one step forward."

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  1. Cool guy

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Jun 25, 2009 10:02:50 AM

  2. Cool and courageous.

    Posted by: Lars | Jun 25, 2009 10:29:21 AM


    Posted by: Laurence Marshall | Jun 25, 2009 10:44:32 AM

  4. the fact that this is happening within football is incredible... probably one of the most homophobic sports in the world, easily topping what we see here in the states in the NFL, MLB, etc.

    Posted by: Joel | Jun 25, 2009 11:23:21 AM

  5. Korkma Abi,
    Halil Ibrahim aslan gibisin, gercekten.
    Ve butun dunyanin gozu case'iniza kara verecekleri zaman Turkiye'de olacaktir.

    Posted by: Erkek adam | Jun 25, 2009 11:29:45 AM

  6. Congrats to him, and good for Turkey for supporting him! It's amazing that they're supporting a gay man. It's almost more amazing that they're supporting a referee, probably one of the most hated professions.

    Posted by: White Label | Jun 25, 2009 12:07:11 PM

  7. This is a huge milestone in gay rights ! We love you Ibrahim !!

    Posted by: ty | Jun 25, 2009 12:31:00 PM

  8. shallow
    And he's hot! Nice!

    Good on everyone for their support -- when we stand up for ourselves we allow others stand up for us too. And what White Label said.

    Posted by: tjc | Jun 25, 2009 12:32:41 PM

  9. "33 years of my life had passed. Since then, I have been trying to resurrect myself." I know he's probably Muslim, but gosh.

    Posted by: jack | Jun 25, 2009 2:30:44 PM

  10. Stand Tall Mr. Dincday! You are not alone! Your story is an inspiration to us all of the difference one person can make! stay strong and be proud.

    Posted by: robert ryan | Jun 27, 2009 9:18:39 AM

  11. The football federation attempted score behind the defender but Mr. Dincdag has cut off the attackers and his fellow team mates have managed to break away with the ball. Will they score?

    Posted by: Wheezy | Jun 27, 2009 9:55:52 PM

  12. Interestingly, some coach went on TV in Turkey and said that he didn't want Dincdag to play football because he felt he would book good-looking players to which Dincdag replied wearily 'do I suggest you attack every pretty girl who walks past you in the street'? Great retort and it's about time these hysterical 'phobes got a slapdown for the rubbish that pours out of their mouths.#

    Good luck to Dincdag and what's more important is that his family is supporting him, which will mean much more.

    Posted by: EM | Jun 28, 2009 8:32:25 AM

  13. Reply to the commenter of "shallow and he's hot!"

    A man who stands up for himself and his comunity and doesn't take this sort of outrageously discriminatory firing has far more to him than good looks that fade with time. He has brains, guts and courage. That makes him "far more of a man" so to speak than his skin-deep handsome looks.

    This is very elementary information that this guy who made the "shallow and he's hot" comments should already know about members of his own gender and seriously he should take his "drooling and salivating" over to some gay porn site instead where that type of commenting would be far more appropriate and appreciated than at a news site where it just looks boorish and immature.

    Posted by: Morgan | Sep 11, 2009 9:28:22 AM

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