Man who shared monkeypox experience flooded with disgusting, homophobic abuse

Monkeypox survivor Harun Tulunay

A man who contracted monkeypox has revealed the onslaught of ignorant and homophobic messages he is receiving every day.

Harun Tulunay, 35, is originally from Turkey and is living in London. He contracted the virus in June this year, and although cases are usually mild, was hospitalised for weeks.

Tulunay shared his story online, hoping to raise awareness, but ever since has been bombarded with bigoted comments.

He told MyLondon: “People are really stepping over the line saying that I must have raped a monkey to get the disease, purely based on the name of the infection alone.

“I’ve had religious people tell me that this is a punishment from God and people have told me I deserve this because even pigs don’t f**k the same gender and therefore, in their eyes, I must be worse than a pig.

“There’s still people saying that I deserve this because I’m gay, I’ve had people say that I can’t keep my pants on, they say I’ve been f**king around and that I’m some sort of slut.”

Tulunay said that there is a common theme among those who are attacking him – they are predominantly white, Christian Trump-supporters in the US, or religious conservatives in Turkey.

Tulunay, who is also HIV-positive, said: “It didn’t affect me first of all as I’ve been through this before when I contracted HIV.

“Now that I’ve had HIV, COVID and monkeypox they are blaming my attitude and lifestyle for getting all those conditions… It shows a lack of crucial information shared by the government too as people believe that this is a virus that only attacks gay people.

“They’ve called me a ‘crisis actor’ and said that I must be getting paid by the media for the ‘charade’ I’m supposedly putting on.”

Despite receiving the horrific messages “at all times of day and night”, Tulunay, who has worked in sexual health services since 2016, said he is continuing to use his platform on social media to educate his followers on monkeypox and HIV and speaking at conferences, all the while reporting trolls to social media platforms and police.

“At the end of the day haters are going to hate and there’s nothing you can do about this,” he added.

“The main thing to me is that people are being educated on the correct information about monkeypox.”