Turkey’s first gay magazine ready to hit shelves and break taboos
Hakan Gence ISTANBUL
The magazine will be distributed for free at D&R stores across Turkey for a year.It’s a small revolution for the Turkish LGBT community, as the country’s first gay tabloid magazine is ready to hit the shelves Aug. 5, giving more visibility to a portion of society that still faces significant discrimination in their daily lives.
“We want to break all of the taboos, but step by step,” says Emir Akgün, the young editor-in-chief of GayMag. Akgün said he has been pleased by the attention, as well as the positive responses the project caught as they were preparing the first edition.
“It’s like everybody was waiting for it for a long time. It is completely normal that there are people against it, though there will certainly be people who like it. We are not reinventing the wheel, the publication of GayMag is itself a big step to break taboos in the first place,” Akgün says.
The first cover has quite surprisingly been dedicated to the American pop diva Mariah Carey, who was interviewed by the magazine's music editor Cenk Erdem and gave a very warm response. Also, Turkish actress and singer Hülya Avşar was interviewed, saying she would not consider weird if her daughter one day told her she is gay.
The magazine will be distributed for free at D&R stores across Turkey for a year, thanks to the sponsorship of a dating application. “We adopted this strategy to see how quickly the numbers spread,” Akgün explains.
Facilitating ‘coming out’
Akgün also admits that one of their goals is to help facilitate “coming out of the closet” for all the people who are afraid to tell their relatives they are gay due to social pressure. “We are aiming to help all those young people anywhere in Turkey who know they are gay, but hide it and seek a way out,” Akgün said.
He is also very confident that male celebrities will all end up appearing in the magazine without any reserve. “There haven’t been any negative reactions, but some celebrities are naturally a little bit reserved. But we can overcome it with time. Women celebrities, for their part, are much more moderate and excited,” he said.
At a time when LGBT rights have gained more visibility after years of political struggle led by many associations, GayMag will now try to cover some more distance by creating an area of expression for the community in the public space.