Mr. Gay Syria

Ayse Toprak

Syrian refugee Mahmoud Hassino organizes the very first Mr. Gay Syria contest in Istanbul. Hairdresser Husein is competing in the pageant, but is also leading a double life as a father and husband in a conservative Syrian family.

24 years old, Husein fled Syria with his family and is now working in downtown Istanbul cutting hair. One of his friends is Mahmoud Hassino, who fled Syria before him and now publishes the first Arabic gay magazine from his new home in Berlin. Homosexuality is a huge taboo in Syria, as it is in many Arabic countries. To generate more awareness of the plight of the Syrian LGBTI community, Hassino organizes the first Mr. Gay Syria contest, a kind of beauty pageant for gay men, with qualifying contests in all sorts of countries, culminating in the Mr. Gay Syria pageant on Malta.

Husein enters the contest, but is fighting an inner battle since his family and relatives have no clue about his homosexual identity. His participation could be a stepping stone towards a resident permit in a safe European country and a new life. But Husein loves his little daughter dearly and does not want to leave her behind. He is also worried about what will happen to him once his father discovers who he truly is.

Mr. Gay Syria has been selected for the Activist competition.


Ayse Toprak
Country of production
Turkey, France, Germany
89 minutes
Spoken language
Arabic, English, German
Production company
Les Films d'Antoine
World Sales
Taskovski Films