Source: “F64.9: Cinsel Kimlik ‘Bozukluğu’,” (“F64.9: Gender Identity ‘Disorder’,”) kaosGL.org, 07 January 2014, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=15547
Serdar, who received an “unfit to serve in the military” (F64.9 gender identity disorder, undefined) report, shared his experience with KaosGL.org:
I am a lucky gay man. I am 29 years old and well-mannered. My family knows about my homosexuality and I live with my boyfriend of five years. I want to retell my experiences of the process I went through in detail so that people can access this information easily online.
Because I could not decide on whether or not to get the report for military exemption after graduation, I registered with the Open Education Faculty at a second university to benefit from deferment.
First, I had to break the deferment and go to the bureau to state that I wanted to join army. After this statement, I immediately said, “I wanted to be referred to the hospital.” The authorities at the recruitment office asked me to see a family doctor to get a report. I returned to the recruitment office with the report I received from a primary health care center and I was directly sent to the Gülhane Military Medical Faculty (GATA) (Üsküdar and Kadıköy recruitment offices refer to the GATA directly instead of having to go from one hospital to another.)
“He is quite feminine, he has one-night stands and he sleeps with anyone he likes”
I am not different to a regular heterosexual man… I went to the GATA with a feminine style because of the things I read on the Internet and heard from other people who previously got this report. I wore a V-neck t-shirt, which was bright blue with pink spots, mustard color jeans and I wore eyeliner and mascara. I headed to the GATA at around 7:50 AM. When it was my turn, I talked with a psychologist or a doctor. It took about a few minutes and he did not require any information about me. The doctor said that they needed to speak to my family. My family knows the situation but I do not see them so that they do not feel pressure or feel bad. So I said, “I do not talk with my family. Because after they learned my situation they did not want see me again and I respected their decision. I live alone. I just have my cousin from my family who you can talk to and they are waiting at the door.” They wanted to talk with them.
They no longer use the “Minnesota Test” that includes 600 questions. They just wanted me to draw and answer 10 or 15 questions about the drawing. In the test, they want you to draw a tree, a house, and a person. I learned that it is better if the body of the tree should be thick and the person should be male and big because the questions revolve on this axis. Is the tree alive? If it is alive, why do you think so? Who is the person you drew? You answer questions like this.
In the interview with the family my cousin said things like, “He is quite feminine, he has one-night stands, he sleeps with anyone he likes, he is not very picky, he puts on make-up on special days and he dresses up” to “the honorable doctors(!)” After the tests and the interview were done, I entered a room where two doctors sat side by side.
The doctors first asked me where I lived. Following my answer: “Baghdad Avenue in Istanbul” they said “wow.” The second question was about my job. I told them that I work in television. They thanked me. There was no question about my sexual orientation there either. Doctors told me to book a date at the door for the council/committee. (I still do not understand the difference between the council and the committee.)
The date given was for 40 days later (31 December 2013) and the paper they gave me stated, “to be seen by the psychiatric council.”
A day before the council, you go to the recruitment office again to get a new dispatch date. I do not think I will ever understand the reason for this because I had already started the process at the hospital and do not understand the need for a new referral. Then I remembered the most vital sentence I have ever heard from soldiers: “The military is where logic ends” and I can say that I experienced the truth of this sentence without going to the military.
“You will not do military service, do you have any objections?”
I was in GATA on December 31st at 8:30 AM, earlier than I should have been. While I was waiting for my turn, they gave me a doctor’s name and asked me to see him. I had a chat with Dr. A. Rıza. He asked me how long I had been a homosexual. He advised me that I could do my military service if I did not tell anyone about my sexual orientation. He asked me whether I thought homosexuality is a disease. I think this is a sensitive question and all answers have their risks. So I dodged the question by saying, “You doctors should decide that. Not me. This is your expertise.” I think this had an effect.
At the end of the conversation, they told me that I could go out and that they would call me for the council. Then I began to wait.
After a few hours, I was called into a room with 3 doctors in it. The doctor who I talked to at first was there too. There was a single chair in front of them. I answered questions similar to the ones I was asked during the first interview and questions about daily topics such as depilatory brands. I answered these questions in front of three doctors. The interview ended in 2-3 minutes and they told me to wait so that they could give me a date for the commission. What they call a commission is not another interview.
Two days later I was at the GATA again, for the commission of the board of health. There is no need for you to go early or to receive a queue number. They announce the names of 10 or 15 people to go into the room. When I was in front of the commission, they told me I was not going to do military service and asked if I had any objections. I wanted to say, “I have been dealing with this for days. Are you insane? What objection?” But I just said: “No, I have no objection.”
They made me give my thumbprint and gave me a paper with a written decision. They said that this paper would be posted to the address I wrote on the petitions. Finally, you are expected to go to the recruitment office again so the paper you received can be processed and then you no longer have any connections with the military service.
I know you got tired while you were reading this but it can be even more tiring when you are experiencing it… Do not let this process scare you too much. It takes a total of 3 or 4 days and when you think about the result, it is worth it.
Hopefully, everyone who goes through this process will be as lucky as I was.
Take it easy…