At a time when who we are is under threat even in the United States, it’s especially poignant to witness the struggles and dreams of those most vulnerable.
A new documentary “Mr. Gay Syria” follows the moving story of two gay Syrian men forced from their home country because of war and homophobia. The film’s protagonists, Mahmoud and Husein, settle in Turkey after fleeing war-torn Syria and they learn that life there has its challenges as well. Homophobia is rampant and anti-refugee sentiment is strong. Still, the two are able to hold into humor and hope as they look to make their way in the world.
They enter the “Mr. Gay Syria” talent contest where they find a sense of community, and the possibility of clinging to a better life.
Turkish film director Ayse Toprak, injects humanity and warmth into a powerful and frightening story.
“One of my main drivers in making this documentary was my admiration for the characters’ resolve to overcome adverse conditions and improve their chances in life. They did this with a light heart and laughter, which taught me to hold on to life, no matter the challenges,” Toprak told Huffington Post.
One can’t help but root for these characters as they try to find community and a sense of normalcy in their tumultuous lives.
“Whoever becomes Mr. Gay Syria,” a host in the film says, “should look into your eyes and promise to shar your sadness with the world.”
“Mr. Gay Syria” is a heartbreaking and inspiring journey through the human experience and what it means to be LGBTQ and Muslim at a pivotal time.
The film is raising funds to help with distribution.