My name is Zee and I’m from Turkey.
My story is about my father. When I was a kid, I was very different than the other kids. I remember they got me–my parents got me–toy trucks and guns. I cried. I wanted to have a brunette doll. So I cried so loud and screamed, so then they had to buy me dolls. And then pretty much at that time, my father and I were okay.
I started elementary school and the whole thing, like, being a girly boy started and then all the kids started making fun of me. And I heard my father kept saying to my mother, “What is wrong with my son? Why is he acting like a girl?”
And I went to junior high and that’s where the drama started. The kids were so mean. It was the first time I had been called “faggot.” And I think in 8th grade, one of my teachers called my parents and set up a meeting or appointment at school. They told them something was wrong with me and they need to do something with me because I would play only with the girls and acting like a girl, behaving like a girl, and they need to take me to a doctor or something.
My father came home and he was so angry. He started screaming at me, “Why are you going to be a faggot?? You are embarrassing our family. You cannot act like that.” And he started slapping at me. One and another and then I collapsed. And then he started kicking me, but my mother stopped him. He left the room and I locked the door and I started crying, but I didn’t want him to hear it.
And I think my senior year, or maybe the previous year, another teacher called my parents, and pretty much the same story. He came home in a rage and I knew what was going to happen, so this time I was prepared. He slapped me but then I pushed him so hard he collapsed, and then he got so scared, and I told him that if he touched me again, that I would kill him. After that, nothing happened.
I went to college and after that my draft came which, in Turkey, is a common thing. Every guy goes to the military service. And 10 days before my draft, my father had a really big surgery–he had a bypass. So I took him to the hospital and I helped him and the day I was leaving for the draft for the military service, in the hospital he told me…he told me, “Don’t hate me.” I was like, I just didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t say anything. I told him, “Okay, I…I’m leaving now.”
And I thought about it and I never hated him but I never loved him either. It was just something in my heart that I wanted to be okay. And then 2 years ago, I got a phone call the morning of Christmas Eve and my uncle said my father died. He had a heart attack. I sat on my bed and started to cry. I just realized I loved him. I just wanted a real father, because I knew if we were in a different era or time, we would have been father and son.