Publication details [#483]

Gorkemli, Serkan. 2012. "Coming out of the Internet" Lesbian and Gay Activism and the Internet as a "Digital Closet"in Turkey. Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 8 (3) : 63–88. 26 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Indiana: Indiana University Press


The article investigates the relation between traditional and new media and Turkish gay/lesbian activism, focusing on the importation of the Euro-American metaphor of the Internet as a "digital closet" in the Turkish cultural context. After a historical overview of the role played by traditional media (press and television) in shaping gender norms and sexual discourse in Turkey, the author analyses the ways in which gay and lesbian activists, between the 1990s and early 2000s, deployed the digital closet metaphor to challenge the gender deviance view of homosexuality and push gay and lesbian people to come out. The discussion is based on a set of interviews conducted in 2003 with the members of the Legato Group (Lesbian and Gay Association), which connected student groups from different universities across the country. Taking into account both the influence of globalization on the formation of lesbian/gay identities and the specifities of the local context, Gorkemli discusses relevant linguistic and cultural implications of the metaphor and suggests possible future directions of research involving the issue of sexuality and the Arab Spring in the Middle East.