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Turkey mourns a revered drag artist

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HE WAS DEVOUT as a teenager and irreverent as an grownup, however all the time sort, and bequeathed his fortune to charity. She was giant, loud, and in her personal phrases ugly to others however lovely to herself along with her blonde wig, unbelievable breasts and a tongue as sharp as a nettle. He was Seyfi Dursunoglu, a bureaucrat. She was the Grumpy Virgin, the persona he started to inhabit within the 1970s, in small golf equipment at first after which on nationwide TV, on her solution to changing into Turkey’s most beloved drag queen. They have been one and the identical particular person, and died on July 17th, on the age of 87.

Being homosexual or trans in Muslim-majority Turkey has all the time been exhausting. However homophobia has now develop into coverage. Over the previous month alone, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, referred to as the LGBT motion a “cursed perversion” and an try “to poison younger minds”, whereas his officers pressured Netflix to cancel a new present as a result of it featured a homosexual character and mused about withdrawing from a conference on violence in opposition to girls as a result of it contained references to sexual minorities.

The paradox is that a lot of Turkey’s most well-known singers and entertainers have been homosexual or trans. A few of them nonetheless seem on TV. Mainstream tradition in Turkey continues to welcome homosexual celebrities, as long as they don’t talk about their sexuality overtly.

The Grumpy Virgin outlasted a dozen prime ministers. However as Turkey’s politics have turned extra Islamic and extra inward underneath Mr Erdogan, she seemingly did not sustain with the instances. In 2007 the media watchdog banished her from the airwaves. Turkish TV exhibits today are more and more populated by Ottoman warriors and armed forces commandos, and information programmes by martyrs, traitors and terrorists. Male ministers with lengthy faces commonly vow to guard the nation from international plots. Turkey, it appears, is quick dropping contact with its female aspect.

This text appeared within the Europe part of the print version underneath the headline “The queen is lifeless”

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