Photo via Twitter/Baris Sulu
Baris Sulu, running in Turkey's general election this June, is believed to be the country's first ever openly gay political candidate. The 37-year-old is standing for the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), in the north-western Eskisehir district.
A long time gay rights activist, Sulu has expressed his intention to use his platform to further the LGBT cause if elected.
Speaking with Anadolu news, Sulu said:
“I am not a secret gay. I have got the biggest support from my family and boyfriend and my friends in the party have given me their opinions.”
He then added:
“My interest in politics started when I decided to fight."
LGBT rights in Turkey are quite muddled. While homosexuality is not illegal, there is little public acceptance. Despite that fact, Istanbul Pride regularly rivals Tel Aviv for the largest celebration in Asia, both averaging more than 100,000 attendees.
Expressing hope for the future of his country, Sulu also told Anadolu:
“The elections in four years will be utterly different. In the next elections, not just gay candidates will run but also lesbian or transgender candidates."