The globalization of digital technologies and lgbt identities: The Turkish collegiate lesbigay population's access to the Internet and the formation of lesbigay identities and communities in Turkey

Serkan Gorkemli, Purdue University


This project examines the emergence and expansion of Legato, the Turkish collegiate lgbt network, from the perspective of the globalization of digital technologies and lgbt identities. The triple perspectives of globalization studies, research on lgbt youths' use of digital technologies, and the critique of technology research in humanities calls attention to the need for international research on the use of digital technologies and the contextualization of such use through qualitative methods. Responding to this scholarly exigency, this project looks at Legato members' and groups' use of digital technologies, such as websites, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), and chat rooms, through the qualitative method of interview-based case studies. The overarching goal of this project is to explore and describe the effects of the use of digital technologies and the Internet in Turkey as it relates to this specific lgbt group. In illustrating the effects of Legato's use of digital technologies, this study analyzes the computer access and access to Legato of eleven participants living in Istanbul. The analysis shows that a variety of factors (economic class; family, relatives, and friends; instruction in computing; knowledge of English; multiple locations of access; and various motivations for computer use) affect the participants' computer access. It also reveals that the traditional media's portrayal of lgbt identities as part of local and foreign television programming led the participants to use the Internet to find community. In addition to the connection between traditional and new media, the participants' use of the Internet has also been influenced by the leading Turkish lgbt organizations in various ways during Legato's two phases: its pre-Internet beginnings between 1996-1999; and its transition and expansion through the Internet between 1999-2002. In exploring and accounting for these influences, this study specifically refers to three lesbigay Internet-mediated student groups: Daughters of Sappho, Gay Ankara, and the Legato Technical List. The recurring challenge of Internet-mediated organizing across these groups demonstrates that with each new group of Legato members, the process of the "localization" of lgbt identities and communities involves an ongoing experimentation with the uses of digital technologies to effect social change in "real life."




Sullivan, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Rhetoric|Mass communications|LGBTQ studies

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