Gay men who want to be exempt from military service in Turkey will no longer be made to prove their sexual orientation with sex pictures and anal examinations.
The country has got a strict policy on exemptions from military service. Those allowed exemption must be sick, disabled or gay.
The whole ordeal often proves humiliating for gay men either because they have to disclose their sexual orientation or hide it.
Previously, those who wish to be exempt on the basis of their sexual orientation had to make a public declaration, often leading to discrimination.
If they go into the draft, gay men usually have to hide their sexual orientation for a year of service.
Now the rules of pre-draft medical examinations have been relaxed, removing some of the stipulations for “tests” on men who say they are gay.
The requirement for men to “prove” their homosexuality by showing photos of them having sex with men has also been removed.
However, gay men will still be forced to undergo examinations by doctors, who will “observe the behaviours” of gay men, and the way they speak.
But the disclosure of a man’s sexual orientation will constitute the sole basis for the decision on military exemption.
This is a massive change for Turkey, in bringing in line military regulations with basic human rights.
It has been compared to the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy in the US, which has now been removed.
“Being gay in Turkey is difficult, but for a gay of draft age, these difficulties become a hell,” Ahmet K, a 27-year-old gay Turk, told Al-Monitor.