We’ve featured all sorts of short films on BGPS, but not that many have been released in support of a direct campaign calling for some direct action. However, War Within has hit the web in the hope of increasing support for a push to grant five Mr. Gay Syria contestants asylum.
The Change.org petition states, ‘Five Syrian refugees escaped the horrors of life as gay men in Syria only to find that their nightmares never ended. After years of living in hiding, fearing for their lives, and watching fellow LGBTQ+ people being mercilessly executed by ISIS, these men believed they had found freedom and safety in Istanbul. Feeling liberated and grateful for their newfound, yet conditional freedom of authentic self-expression, they decided to hold a Mr. Gay Syria contest and planned for the winner to participate in The Mr. Gay World competition. However, hate and homophobia still remain in Turkey.
‘Created by Mahmoud Hassino to illuminate the urgent challenges experienced by LGBTQ+ people in the Middle East, Mr. Gay Syria is a regional competition to advance to Mr. Gay World and also a documentary, written and directed by Ayşe Toprak, poised to hit film festival circuits this summer season. The documentary highlights the relatable challenges of the five Mr. Gay Syria contestants: cultivating shared connection with like-minded people and depicting the not-so-relatable challenges of severe persecution and seemingly impossible barriers to being one’s authentic self while living in antiquated and judgmental environments.’
The hope is to help accelerate the asylum process for these men.
War Within itself depicts the conflicts going on inside a Muslim man who is trying to reconcile his sexuality with his faith, and how the traditions of his culture have pulled against him (and his family ties) since he was young. It’s a moody and sometimes sad piece, but well worth a look.