Being a gay man officially means you're exempt from the otherwise mandatory years of Turkish military service.
However, as the BBC is reporting, those hoping to be declared exempt must first receive a "pink certificate," and doing so means a candidate must be prepared to provide "proof" of homosexuality, which can allegedly be a lengthy and humiliating experience.
Says Ahmet, a gay man in his 20s who claims he alerted officials to his lifestyle when he was called up: ''They asked me when I first had anal intercourse, oral sex, what sort of toys I played with as a child."
Having grown a few days' beard at the time of the inquiry, Ahmet adds, "They asked me if I liked football, whether I wore woman's clothes or used woman's perfume...they told me I didn't look like a normal gay man.'' He was then asked to provide a picture of himself dressed as a woman.
In another case, the article notes, a Turkish gay man provided explicit photos of himself having sex with another man in order to obtain an exemption. ''The face must be visible,'' the man, identified only as Gokhan, noted. ''And the photos must show you as the passive partner.''
The story's revelations are perhaps most surprising given Turkey's otherwise improving stance on its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. As Pink News noted last year, the Turkish government has refused to back laws against discrimination and has allowed leading politicians to make explicitly homophobic statements, but has otherwise made changes in an effort to conform to EU policy on human rights laws.
Istanbul's Gay Pride Parade will mark its tenth anniversary this year and, as CNN noted last year, is the only march of its kind in a majority-Muslim country.
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