Recent studies on homosexuality, being highly influenced by Foucault's groundbreaking History of Sexuality (1990), map different cultural attitudes towards homosexuality by focusing on dominant discourses. For instance, D'Emilio (1998) examines three discourses: the Judeo-Christian, the legal, and the medical in the US, while Pflugfelder (1999) also analyzes three specific sexual discourses: the popular, the legal, and the medical in Japanese history, which altogether determine attitudes towards same-sex sexuality in different cultures and give rise to historically specific and changing queer subjectivities within their respective geographical locations.
While the emphasis is more on discourses as metaphorical maps rather than on conventional maps (and space) in these studies, Pflugfelder (1999) bridges the apparent gap between the two in this manner: “human understanding involves a continual mapping and remapping, not just of physical but also of social reality. [Discourses as metaphorical maps] are not necessarily tangible, but they are no less instrumental than the conventional sort in orienting us to our environments” (p. 1). By changing the emphasis to space then in its various forms as physical, geographical, institutional, virtual, etc., one of the questions I pose in this article is, “How does space orient us towards various discourses, especially the marginalized ones that we rarely get to hear on the mass media?” If, as Pflugfelder (1999) says, mapping, whether conventional or otherwise, is an epistemological practice that assigns symbolic roles and categories to a material world of places populated by objects and beings, then what are the implications of such an epistemology for queer populations?
Such an epistemology is a high-stake one for queer individuals since, historically, it has been an imposed epistemology of heterosexism. This epistemology is especially pervasive in the twentieth-century societies due to mass media embodying and propagating the homophobia of their surrounding social contexts and further shaping the same contexts in the process. Like conventional maps, this epistemology is also a spatial regime where physical places are also imbued with symbolic meanings that historically came to accommodate only heterosexual ways of living, in the process creating “other spaces” (Foucault, 1986), such as bars, parks, etc., for those who deviate from the so-called norm, further affirming the marginality of—and through such exclusion, negating subject positions for—the so-called deviates and thus reinforcing and maintaining an unjust system. 
Following the perspective above, the next section surveys the discourses on homosexuality and spaces available to an LGBTQ looking for a community prior to the advent of the Internet, mapping the background for the emergence of Legato across the country through the Internet.
Discourses, Space, and Mass Media in Modern Turkey 
Even though the heterosexist system is quite strong thus and its control over meaning-making so prevalent thanks to its power of representation, it is not so pervasive as to eradicate queer existence altogether or preclude the formation of subversive discourses of sexuality. At the beginning of the 1990s, an LGBTQ looking for a community in Turkey could have direct access to other queer individuals and queer-related experience through the following venues :
Mass Media. An average, typical Turkish family's first encounter with queerness is usually through Turkish mass media. Media coverage of queerness usually takes two forms: 1) sensational headline news about the fights between the police and a group of people indiscriminately called “transvestites” by the mass media maintaining the traditional gender dichotomy; and 2) entertainment shows that feature queer celebrities and entertainers in drag. To be specific, three very famous celebrities in Turkey are a transsexual (Bulent Ersoy), a transgendered person (late Zeki Muren), and a drag queen (Huysuz Virjin). In addition, there are numerous gay male entertainers working in chic nightclubs in bigger cities who also appear on TV programs targeted to the general population. In spite of such visibility in the mass media, the queerness of these performers elicits a variety of responses from the public. Some people either just do not see it, or, they ridicule the person, or, even if they recognize the queerness of a particular artist implicitly, they might still prefer not to talk about it at all for various reasons.
 Turkey, located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia , is a democratic, secular, and predominantly Muslim nation—to be exact, 99% of the population is Muslim. Even though the religion of the majority is Islam, unlike, for instance, Saudi Arabia and Iran , Turkey is not governed by sharia , the code of law based on the Koran. Also, here, modern Turkey refers to the Turkish Republic founded in 1923. Before then, Turkey was the Ottoman Empire (from its beginnings in the 1300s until the abolition of the Ottoman dynasty by the newly established Turkish parliament in the 1920s). Sexual practices before the foundation of the Republic are beyond the scope of this article. Let it suffice for now that the Ottoman literature and history suggest that male-to-male sexuality was accepted to a certain extent.
 For recent developments concerning the legal situation, see “Turkish Parliament Decided to Rule Out Considering Prison Term for 'Sexual Orientation' Discrimination,” posted on 06 July 2004 18:05 on Kaos
GL bulletin board.