In this episode, I am hosting Tankut Atuk; a Ph.D. student at the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota. We will talk about the construction of masculinity in the Turkish Army while sharing the findings of our field researches, showing how far the military is willing to go in order to maintain hegemonic masculinity within the barracks. We will talk about unfortunate moments in very recent history when the Army asked gay men and trans women to provide photos and videos of themselves having sex with another man as so-called 'proof' of their sexuality and gender identity in order to be granted exemption from military service. Tankut makes an especially compelling case for effeminacy being the cornerstone in constructing the military as a masculine space. Effeminacy here roughly refers to bodies that are marked as male from birth performing behaviors that are socially accepted as feminine. He argues that it is not homosexuality per se that the Turkish military is against, but rather effeminacy since it destabilizes the military's fragile masculinity.
For a written discussion of a similar topic, please have a look at Tankut's article "Comrades-in-[Each Other’s]-Arms: Homosociality, Masculinity and Effeminacy in the Turkish Army".