“The situation of gay refugees is complicated because the Turkish public and law enforcement agents are very hostile to sexual minorities despite the fact that homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey,” said the International Gay And Lesbian Human Rights Commission. They continued, “In recent years, many gay and lesbian refugees have been subject to verbal and physical attacks. As a consequence, they are often forced to remain indoors during the day for their own safety, and venture outside only at night, under cover of dark, when they are less likely to be recognized as foreign and can more readily hide their sexual orientation.”
Just two years ago, Arash and Javad (not their real names), two young Iranian men were building their future together. Arash was pursuing a successful career in Iran’s financial sector and Javad was a university student in Tehran. Now the men live in abject poverty in a remote area of Turkey. They have no income and are frequently forced to scavenge for food in their neighbors’ trash cans. Javad, a diabetic, needs regular monitoring and medication, which he cannot afford. His health has deteriorated to the point where he regularly suffers diabetic comas.