Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Political Science

Document Type



What are the implications of the Republic of Turkey’s paradoxical policies of universal male conscription and exclusion of gay men from military service? To answer this question, this project draws on four months of research in Turkey where interviews were conducted with prominent lawyers and activists as well as with gay men who personally experienced the inhumane exemption process of the Turkish military. This project first analyzes the historical reasons for the military’s pervasive influence in Turkish society. Next, it explores the many issues inherent in a policy of universal conscription without the right to conscientious objection. The project then focuses on the methods utilized from 1986 to the present to “prove” the sexuality of men in Turkey. These methods are based in Victorian pseudoscience, including invasive anal examinations, video or photographic evidence of sexual acts, video or photographic evidence of cross-dressing, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, the House-Tree-Person Test, and mandatory family interviews. Each method is based on outdated gender roles, violates basic human rights, and wholly lacks validity in the capacity to determine sexual orientation. These exemption methods, along with the classification of gay men as psychologically ill, demonstrate the Turkish military’s repeated adherence to scientific practices discredited by the modern medical and psychological community.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Patricia Minter


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies