Istanbul Hub

U.S. Diplomat To Marry Turkish Pop Star Partner: VIDEO


Charles F. Hunter, U.S. Consul General in Istanbul, is to marry his partner, Turkish pop star Ramadan Çaysever, reports Daily Sabah.

Speaking at an event in the Dutch consulate, Hunter spoke about his relationship with Çaysever for the first time and confirmed reports about the planned marriage. The couple are thought to have met at one of Çaysever’s concerts.

Hunter proposed a few months ago and told friends about the planned wedding at Thanksgiving.

The wedding will take place in Hunter's hometown, Appleton, Wisconsin, where the couple are set to travel on December 20th.  However, a date for the ceremony has not been confirmed.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Wisconsin in October.

Watch the music video for Çaysever's "Diskotek", AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "U.S. Diplomat To Marry Turkish Pop Star Partner: VIDEO" »

Gay Turkish Couple Stage Symbolic Wedding, Receive Death Threats From Family

Ekin Keser and Emrullah Tuzun

Ekin Keser and Emrullah Tüzün of Istanbul held a symbolic marriage on a ferry in late September to celebrate their love for each other, despite it having no legal significance. However, with the lack of legal recognition comes the lack of legal protections and now both Keser and Tüzün are unemployed, evicted, and facing death threats from their own family members.

The open wedding was featured in the news, and after it took place their landlord evicted the couple. Tüzün also lost his job as a waiter in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district after his boss found out about the wedding, and with Keser spending his time as an undergrad student the two now have no income. To top it all off, they have begun receiving death threats from their families, Tüzün saying,

My family and siblings threaten me with death. When our wedding was featured in the news, our family and friends began rejecting us.

Keser received similar rejection,

We have received the biggest reaction from our families. My family knew that I was homosexual, but they reacted against my marriage.

Fortunately not all of the news is bad. According to Keser, 95% of their friends supported them and their marriage and now the couple just wants their respective families to leave them be.

News: Russia, Aurora Borealis, Gay Pride In The Muslim World, Gay Marriage

RoadRussia's anti-gay law one year out: "Only a few people were fined throughout the year and this might not seem to be much of a problem," Lokshina said. "But the fines are not what this law is about. This law is not only contrary to Russia's international obligations but has also contributed to anti-gay violence and to creating a hostile environment for LGBT people in the country. It has contributed to stigmatizing LGBT individuals as unnatural, perverse and as acceptable targets."

Space RoadAmazing vine of aurora borealis from space

RoadMisterbnb: an Airbnb for gay men

RoadInstagram removes pictures of gay newlyweds kissing then restores it, apologizing for the error. 

Road'Community' makes move to Yahoo! for sixth season.

RoadIstanbul, Turkey saw strong turnout at its LGBT Pride celebration over the weekend, making it perhaps the biggest such event in a predominantly Muslim country. 

RoadRobin Williams enters rehab to help maintain sobriety.

RoadMeanwhile, Shia LaBeouf reportedly has entered rehab for other reasons

RoadKevin Kline plays Errol Flynn in 'The Last of Robin Hood.'

RoadMichael Egan, who brought suit against Bryan Singer and three Hollywood execs alleging sexual abuse, dropped his suit against Broadway producer Gary Goddard.  

RoadCreate your own gay marriage ruling

RoadDaniel Radcliffe and golden retriever make cute couple

RoadWhitney Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina lashes out at Angela Bassett for not casting her to play her mother in Lifetime biopic that marks Bassett's directorial debut. 

Glas RoadBradley Cooper and Michael Fassbender hang out at Glastonbury Music Festival.

RoadTaschen publishes (work unfriendly) book "My Buddy" chronicling close, often homo-erotic relations between soldiers in World War II.

RoadJoan Rivers officiates surprise gay wedding at book signing

RoadJustin Bieber up to his shirtless selfie antics again.

RoadSwedish soccer coach Pia Sundhage talks about being out in sports: "If I’m gay is of no interest because I’m a coach and my private life doesn’t matter," she says. "If people ask me about it, I answer 'Yes I’m gay' and that’s how it is. I’ve never come across any trouble for it as a coach in the United States or anywhere. It was tough when I was twenty-years-old in Sweden, but even then I didn’t care. This is me. Take it or leave it."

LGBT Groups and the Protests in Turkey: Photos, Video, and an Interview with a Filmmaker

(dimiter kenarov)

The resistance against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government in Istanbul's Taksim Square has inspired some of the largest and most violent demonstrations there in years. The protests, revealing a simmering discontent with growing authoritarianism and fueled by the proposed demolition of the city's Gezi Park, have brought together many of Istanbul's minority groups, including LGBTs.

Bulgarian journalist Dimiter Kenarov agreed to share some of his photos on Towleroad (you can see others here).

I'm also sharing a translation of a caption of the photo above by a Facebook user, Lachezar Georgiev:

"This is a photograph by the independent Bulgarian journalist Dimiter Kenarov, who is reporting on the events in Taksim Square in Istanbul. At the protests people are shouting "Taip (Erdogan's nickname) -- faggot," "son of a whore," "he runs like a woman."

In response... stickers and slogans like the one in the photo have appeared, on which is written "Do not insult (curse/swear at) gays, women and prostitutes, we are all here together." Because prostitutes were the first who rushed into the streets through the night to help people who had been beaten by the police. The gay community were the first at the protests. Women are on the front lines against the police."

Turkey2I also spoke last week with Mehmet Binay, a filmmaker who is currently in Istanbul working on a feature film, and did this brief interview with him.

Binay co-directed the 2012 film Zenne Dancer, about Ahmet Yildiz, a 26-year-old gay Turkish man who lived proudly and openly in Istanbul and was shot to death leaving a cafe near the Bosphorus Strait, the victim of an 'honor killing' by his own family. I wrote more about Zenne here.

What is the extent of the participation of the Turkish LGBT community in the protests?

Turkish LGBT have been taking part in the protests to a large degree as this is a protest against an ever growing authoritarian government.

How large, how many people from the LGBT community are participating in the protests

I couldn't say that. Perhaps 5-10% of the protesters.

What does the LGBT community believe it will gain from the protests?

The LGBT community has been suffering socially, legally and politically in Turkey. A more democratic government could help the LGBT's to get their rights, recognition and legal protection against hate speech and acts.

What is the reaction from other groups involved in the protests to the inclusion of LGBT groups?

Very welcome. Gezi movement has united people regardless of their sexual identity, political affiliation or religious practices.

What is the situation in general for gay people in Turkey and Istanbul?

Istanbul has been attracting a large LGBT community for the last 10 years. It has become easier to live out and proud in Istanbul and other cities like Ankara and Izmir recently. However, life is still very difficult for transgender and transsexuals even in cities like Istanbul where they are being mobbed (bashed) in neighbourhoods.

How has Erdogan's government behaved toward LGBT people? What policies has he put in place or taken away?

Erdogan said in 2000's that LGBT's should get their rights as well. He hasn't behaved supportively after he came to power. A recent AKParti minister for family affairs called gays "sick." There are dozens of gays and transgender people that were murdered by their families or others. No serious legal action has been noticed in terms of justice. AKParti also rejected calls from the opposition to recognise LGBT's in the new constitution which could give them legal protection from hate speech.

How long do you expect the protests to last and what is the goal?

The goal has become to criticise the government's authoritarian stance and PM Erdogan's mentality of not listening to his own people.


I'm also posting a video (about the whole movement, not just LGBTs) AFTER THE JUMP which is the best primer on what is happening in Istanbul that I have seen to date. It was produced by VICE.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

(dimiter kenarov)

Continue reading "LGBT Groups and the Protests in Turkey: Photos, Video, and an Interview with a Filmmaker" »

Catch Up on the Demonstrations in Turkey in 7 Minutes: VIDEO


IF you haven't been following the demonstrations in Turkey, or are aware of the uprising against the government underway at the moment but not in on some of the details, here's a great video that will get you caught up.


The resistance against Erdogan's government are some of the largest demonstrations in years, and have brought together many of Istanbul's minority groups, including LGBTs.

The Guardian:

Resting in the shade of a tree next to a stand manned by the LGBT activists of Lambda Istanbul, 29-year-old consultant Onur Aygünes said that for the first time he felt as if there was real momentum behind a larger political movement: "My friends and I felt increasingly oppressed in Turkey, but this is very inspiring. Most of the people here have never been politically active."

Aygünes, who has participated in rallies such as the Istanbul Gay Pride or Mayday demonstrations, believes the excessive police violence used in the square was counter-productive, bringing more and more people onto the streets, rather than deterring them. "I  have been teargassed for the first time here, and all it did was to make me more determined."


Continue reading "Catch Up on the Demonstrations in Turkey in 7 Minutes: VIDEO" »


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