>> From arrests, to honor killings, to cold blooded murders. Mahmoud Hassino has watched the rights of Syria's LGBT community trampled in the brutal civil war.>>
> In a quest to raise awareness, he set out to find Syria's Mr Gay, to send to an international beauty pageant.
His journey, now the subject of a new documentary premiering this week in the UK.>> My struggle was during the last few years is to get some kind of recognition for LGBT Syrians, as a group, not as part of refugees or whatever.>> Film makers follow the lives of gay Syrians living in Turkey and their hopes of finding a better future in Europe as they compete for a place in the Mr. Gay World competition.
>> Set in Istanbul, the film opens with police breaking up a gay pride event. The director Isha says the Syrians fleeing war in homophobia at home quickly realize society doesn't accept them here either. She hopes the film will portray refugees in a different light.>> In this film I don't think they're the victims, they're actually super powerful and they have sort of taken a hold of their life.
And they say, okay we're gonna do something about it. We're gonna change the way we live and I think that's a great lesson for all of us.>> Many of the people who worked on the film have now left Turkey for new lives in Europe. The main character, however, is still waiting for his migration papers.
Until he leaves, the film won't be screened in Turkey for his own safety. Mahmoud now settled in Berlin, works with LGBT refugees, many of whom were targeted and beaten up in camps.>> People are still looking for their right to live, actually their right to life, and it's not about LGBT rights in Syria and gay marriage in 2018 in Syria, it's about the LGBT people's right to life.