Gay lifestyle and dating site Gay.com has this week become the latest site banned by Turkish authorities after being added to a list of sites deemed inappropriate for public use.
The popular site was reclassified earlier this week by the Turkish Telecommunications Directorate under the orders of Turkish government; meaning that access to the site is now forbidden.
Gay.com is a globally popular news and lifestyle site that also operates a dating service. The site is used across the world by gay men in areas where meeting partners is often difficult. Although homosexuality is legal in Turkey the country suffers largely from widespread homophobia and bigotry that make dating difficult for LGBTI individuals.
Homosexuality has actually been legal in Turkey since 1858 and the country has proven to be a more progressive nation than many of the other countries in the region. But despite growing acceptance a large religious and conservative community supported by the government has led to a strong atmosphere of homophobia in recent years that has helped make life difficult for the LGBTI community.
In response to news of the ban many were quick to accuse the Turkish government of homophobia. Gay.com now joins sites such as PlanetRomeo and Grindr that have been banned from public use. According to leading Turkish LGBTI charity KaosGL, dating can be incredibly difficult for the LGBTI community and many use online services as a safer way to meet potential partners.
KoasGL released a statement on the news which also advised individuals on how to access sites such as Grindr and Gay.com from within Turkey.
This news is not the first time Turkish authorities have come under fire for their approach to internet censorship. Earlier this year Turkish politicians caused international outrage after attempting to ban social media platform Twitter. The ban lasted two weeks and was overturned after the constitutional court declared the government’s actions illegal. However, despite the power to block Twitter being outlawed Turkish authorities still hold the power to ban sites they deem inappropriate or potentially dangerous.