Interview and photography by
Regis Trigano


Young Turkish activist Erdinch is part of a new generation of gay men in Istanbul who are out and proud and demanding equal rights in their very homophobic country. Erdinch recently helped organize an award show against homophobia, where genetically modified tomatoes were awarded to prejudiced people in the media, politics, and elsewhere. He also curated a show at the nearby Algier apartments entitled: 'Proudly African and Transgendered.' Erdinch says that despite the negativity in his country, he's surrounded by a loving, fun, and caring gay community. He also has a very active sex life, which we discussed in great detail at his place in Tophane, a conservative corner of Istanbul.

Regis: What do you do for fun here?
Erdinch: We have lots of parties here. Secret home parties. Gay life in Istanbul is fun. We used to go to hammams on Sundays but they shut them down.
What goes on in hammams?
Usually nothing, but we had found one in Cukurcuma that was historical and beautiful. We took over it and met there on Sundays for orgies.
Have you ever had anal sex in a hammam?
Yes! (laughter) but always with a condom.
How did that go?
It was great. Hammams have a marble round in the center. That’s where most of the sex went on. It was good because all the people around were watching you while masturbating. I like this energy.
So you are an exhibitionist?
Yes! Actually if you are young and you enter one of those gay hammams, they just throw you on the marble, it’s like being hunted down.
The only gay hammam I went to so far was mostly visited by older men.
That’s not a problem for me because I like older men also. All kinds of sex is good for me. I’m very open minded.
You’ve had it all!
Yes! (laughter)
Aside from hammams, do you ever think about getting serious with somebody?
Sometimes I do but it’s hard over here. Gay men are hungry over here, so they don’t want to close themselves off in a relationship. I’m also against monogamy.
Do you have an ideal man?
Yes I have a fetish with nords.
Yes, nords…
You mean nerds?
Yes, nerds. I find them very very sexy. Especially when they wear glasses. It attracts me a lot. My ideal man would really be a nerd. But the problem is that nerds don’t know that they are nerds oftentimes.
What’s ideal about them?
They are shy. I love that in somebody. Shyness is so beautiful.
Is there a type of man you don’t like?
Yes, bodybuilders.
I slept with one once. He was huge. He worked as a security man and carried a gun with him all the time. One night he came to my house to have sex and he put the gun on my night table. I grabbed the gun to put it away and he freaked out. The whole incident was very awkward. He fell in love with me and wanted to see me all the time. I had to end the affair.
I see, he was harassing you?
What do you do outside of sex for fun?
I am really into Reiki.
I think I’ve heard about it before. Can you tell me more?
It’s a healing system that uses your energy to open up your chakras. In Turkish we say that a master gives you a hand.
Gives you a hand?
No, not like that. (laughter) I can’t explain it, but it feels very good.
Do you consider yourself feminine?
Yes, and I love it! I don’t care to act mannish or to fit in the macho stereotype.
Do you think your open mindedness is very unique here in Istanbul?
Yes, but there are people like me. Mostly younger gay people, my friends that are open minded. But it is a small community. We are getting bigger though. When the awards first started there were only a handful of people, now it’s become a huge event. And everybody was so comfortable with their identity last night. I kissed so many people last night!
How many did you kiss?
I can’t remember I was too drunk.

Published on 26 July 2010