Ask Pemba abla: how can I tell them?

Dear Abla, 

I am a 22-year-old male. I’ve just moved back home after studying away at university for the past four years and it’s doing my head in. The problem is I’m gay and my family doesn’t know.

From the outside, I am the archetypal macho Turk: I go to the gym and pump iron, I’m into cars, and I play football. But I’m also into men and I can’t find a way to tell my family. They are so traditionally minded, and it would kill my dad to know his son is gay.  

I’ve heard my parents talk about other homosexuals, and their ignorance is shameful and upsetting. They see things in religious terms – that being gay is sinful. Dad’s even commented that ‘people should be wary having kids around gays in case they are influenced’. My oldest sister and her husband are even worse! 

I love them dearly. They’ve done so much for me, and so I’ve never pushed back. And also, I’ve never wanted to attract interest about my own sexuality. I’m still not sure that I want to come out. But I’m also paranoid it will be noticed, and I am so depressed about it all. Please help! 

Name & address supplied


My dear young man,

Being gay is not a crime! If you feel you are not yet ready to come out, you really don’t have to.

Speak to someone who you really trust about your feelings. Alternatively, talk to your GP or the LGBT Foundation in total confidence, and they can steer you in the right direction for additional support.

If you do decide to come out, it may be a good idea to move out of your parents’ home until they come to terms with who you are. This will give you the time to find yourself and live your life as a gay man without being afraid. And your family may also surprise you – the fear of losing you permanently may help them overcome their prejudices.

Being gay is now more acceptable in our community. You should find more support from the younger generation of Turks, who will not judge you like the older generation.

You can also contact the Samaritans about your depression: they can listen, explore options and support you through this tough time, so please don’t suffer alone.

Pembe Abla


Pembe Osman (pictured below) is filling in while Yonca Ali is away. Got a problem? Email her and she will try to answer.

Pembe Osman