Mr Gay Syria Q&A



Q&A with Mahmoud Hassino, chaired by Brian Whitaker, at the Freedom Across Borders conference, London, 6 July 2019.

The film Mr. Gay Syria follows two gay Syrian refugees who are trying to rebuild their lives. Husein is a barber in Istanbul living a double life between his conservative family and his gay identity. Mahmoud a Syrian LGBTI activist and is a refugee in Berlin. What brings them together is a dream: to participate in an international contest as an escape from their trapped lives and as a response to their invisibility.

Directed by Ayse Toprak, Mr Gay Syria won the Silver Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival 2017, the Human Rights Award at the Sarajevo Film Festival 2017, Best European Documentary at Tirana Film Festival 2017, Best Documentary at Amsterdam LGBTQ Film Festival Roze Filmdagen 2018, the 4th OCAÑA Award to Freedom at the Festival de Sevilla, in Spain, and Grand Prix at the Paris Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Mr Gay Syria is distributed in the UK by Taskovski Films.

Mahmoud Hassino is a journalist and blogger. He started Syria’s first LGBT magazine, Mawaleh. He is a refugee working with LGBTI refugees in Berlin.

Brian Whitaker is a journalist, former Middle East editor of the Guardian, and author of Unspeakable Love, Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East.