27/10/2022 | Writer: Umut Güner

We bid farewell to Ahmet Tulgar with the interview about his book titled Birbirimize: Ahmet’s stories were mine, our stories. They were untold stories.

We may continue to tell our stories as Ahmet did Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

I knew and loved Ahmet through their books. In 2010, when I was reading the book titled Birbirimize (To each other) once again for an interview I conducted for Kaos GL, I had realized that I didn’t want to share the narrations with Ahmet Tulgar and I had told this also to Ahmet. Ahmet’s stories were mine, our stories. They were untold stories. I had been so glad when they responded positively to my request for interview. I also felt so sad when I received their death knell yesterday.

Ahmet had said: “I also carried this necessity with me when I was writing the stories. On the other side, the narrators and the protagonists naturally tell what we do, and may do, to each other boon or bane.” in response to why the book was entitled as Birbirimize, in 2010’s. I also began to occupy myself with this more, since I turned 40s. I faced the fact that I had to be a good person when my mother passed away. How much I was able to succeed in is open to question, however I constantly experience the fact that what we do, and may do, to each other boon or bane, with every person come into my life. On my own behalf, Tulgar’s book Birbirimize, was actually effective in trying to proceed on my way without harming anyone.

Well, it was evident in the interview that I was a lubunya / queer who started to organize in the early 2000s. I think no need to say that I was so proud of asking questions as “Is there a gay book?”, “Are there books by gay writers?” and how valuable Ahmet’s sincere response was: “I also think that there cannot be something such a gay book. The literature tells the human being. However giving wide coverage to the experiences I observed relatively more closely as a gay writer, comparing to a heterosexual writer, doesn’t make the book gay. In addition when it comes to literature, I don’t think that the feelings / sensations could be split up according to sexual orientations. Literature tells the commonalities of human beings through their differences. It is really hard for me to understand something like ‘not to be ready to read gay sex’. Some heterosexuals may feel this way regarding gay sex, just as some homosexuals feel this way about hetero sex. However the person who wrote it, claims to be a man of letters and considers himself a critic. Then he has to renounce quite a part of literature. Deep trouble.”

The book entitled Birbirimize not only told “what we do each other” with Ahmet’s words, but also revealed how heterosexual world is brutal and relentless against the cultural productions at LGBTI+ field through claims regarding sex / erotic after the book was published. Even the romance for LGBTI+s could become eroticism for heterosexuals, in this respect, the book also revealed what heterosexual system does to LGBTI+ people.

During the interview in response to “Isn’t there a happy love for gays?” Ahmet had said: “May be right, ‘there isn’t a happy love’. However it is even more difficult for gay desire to result in happiness. This has many reasons. I mean internal reasons. For instance the sense of nomadism arising from gay culture. The need to be in the closet for many gays. The acceptance of ‘kick up heels’ position attached to gays by them. On the other side, yeah, happiness like in heterosexual love is not institutionally or legally possible for gays. I mean there are also external reasons. Happiness in heterosexual love is more institutionalized, more financial. Heterosexual people may perceive happiness in love as a more secured, socially sanctioned and perhaps completed and frozen state of love.”

Indeed, queerness / lubunyalık is experienced as a story of nomadism. The feeling of nomadism actually begins with not being able to exist in your assigned family and continues with what you experience during the process of establishing your identity. Your experiences with the people you chose dominates your nomadism, shapes it. We lost a writer from this geography, like Ahmet, who told their own nomadism story and mirrored particularly lubunya / queer readers.

I think Ahmet sweeten up to lubunya / queer readers. Our faces will always be turning “each other”.

I think Ahmet’s writings and their effort to tell their own stories and the ones they witnessed matches up much as with the aim of Kaos GL Magazine, which was issued as “the voice of homosexuals” in the early 90’s and then kaosgl.org, which invites LGBTI+s to tell their own stories. We may continue to tell our stories as Ahmet did. Ahmet Tulgar will live on with their stories and books. 

Click to read whole part of the interview in Turkish.

Translation: Selma Koçak

Tags: human rights, family