One drag queen's story is going viral after a music video portraying his life took the Internet by storm.
The Turkish band Athena released the video for a new song called "Ses Etme" or "Don't Make a Sound." In the video, a gay man dresses in drag and goes to a local club for a night out with his friends. On the way home, he is jumped by several men and beaten in the street before being helped by an old woman who breaks up the assault.
Onur Gokhan Gercek, a real-life drag queen who plays the lead role in the video, told BuzzFeed News that most of the scenes are from his daily life.
"We weren't expecting that much attention," Gercek said. "It is not a political statement or anything like that. All in all, it is a music video. Everybody was deeply moved by the story. At a time where homophobia and transphobia are on the rise, LGBT visibility is very important and it is a necessity."
Though homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, the country is no friend of the LGBT community. Turkey had the highest rates of trans murders in Europe this year, and Istanbul's governor recently banned LGBT pride events. Those behind the video, which garnered close to 3 million views, hope to shed light on that oppression.
In the United States, too, LGBT people face certain kinds of persecution and violence every day. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), "current data suggests that 20-25 percent of lesbian and gay people experience hate crimes within their lifetimes." In recent years, the number of LGBT killings has been rising. Earlier this year, we saw one of the worst shootings in American history when a known LGBT nightclub was attacked and 49 people were killed.
Of course, it took until last year for the Supreme Court to even rule that LGBT people had a right to marry in the United States.
"Homophobia and transphobia are killing people. Moral beliefs are shaped by wrong influences. Society is watching or reading whatever has been given to them," Gercek said. "That is why visibility is crucial. People stay ignorant sometimes. We aimed to raise awareness and I believe we achieved our goal."
Watch the full video:
This video will hopefully spread much-needed awareness, and help us all move toward positive change and acceptance.
A Plus has reached out to NCAVP for comment.