Turkish Football Referee Ousted for Being Gay Seeks Reinstatement

Two years ago following a surge of public support in his favor, Turkey's football federation backpedaled after firing referee Halil Ibrahim Dincdag and outing him to the press. The public response was because instead of running and hiding, Dincdag went on a popular sports program to discuss his sexuality. Diincdag had been a referee for 14 years.

Halil The football federation then claimed that Dincdag was fired for his performance. At the time, activists said his case had the potential to become a landmark anti-discrimination case because of Turkey's European Union accession bid.

Today, Dincdag pleaded for a Turkish court to reinstate him, Reuters reports:

Halil Ibrahim Dincdag, 35, has accused the Turkish Football Federation of passing documents to the media showing he was exempted from compulsory military service because of his sexual orientation, which in turn led to death threats.

The case is being closely followed by rights groups and has attracted much attention in Turkey, where homosexuals are excluded from the military, although many hide their sexuality and complete military service due to fears of social prejudice.

"I have been unable to find a job since my name hit the headlines. I have received threats, and have lost hope of earning my own living," Dincdag told Reuters.

The court was adjourned until October 20. Dincdag seeks reinstatement and 110,000 Turkish lira ($69,000) compensation.