Most of the subjects’ faces are hidden or concealed, but it does not detract from new documentary Mr Gay Syria‘s significance in telling an LGBT+ story we do not hear enough.
Focusing on two men, Hussein and Mahmoud, gay men who have fled from their homeland Syria to Turkey, Mr Gay Syria follows the establishment of the Mr Gay Syria competition and the following difficulties of getting the winner to the Mr Gay World competition. Spoiler: he doesn’t make it there.
Refugees who have fled Syria already have a difficult life as they cannot legally work, but as film-maker Ayşe Toprak tells The Guardian, “look at his Mr Gay Syria idea. Who would hold a beauty contest in the middle of this crisis? It’s crazy! But it’s actually a way of surviving”.
One of the major issues brought up by the film is Mr Gay World’s indifference to the plight of the winner of Mr Gay Syria. Mr Gay Syria’s visa was never going to eventuate, and then the organisation did not even offer to Skype the winner in.
The film is almost complete, but it still needs money to finish – it has operated on a shoestring budget up to this point. The organisers have set up a crowdfunding page to raise the 35,000 euros needed. Currently, just over half of the required funds from over 360 donators have been raised, and the clock is ticking: they have only 16 more days to raise the money. Do them a solid and help them out, this is a story that needs to be told.