LGBTI statement at 22 November 2013 City Demonstration: We want all of Istanbul!

Source: Istanbul City Demonstration,

Boysan Yakar and Şevval Kılıç speak on behalf of Istanbul-based LGBTI organizations on 22 November 2013 City Demonstration, where thousands representing groups standing up for Istanbul met. Boysan Yakar is a candidate nominee for the Republican People’s Party’s and Şevval Kılıç is a candidate nominee for the People’s Democratic Party’s for the Şişli, Istanbul municipality

Hello Istanbul! Hello comrades!

We salute all of you as lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans and intersex people; as your next door neighbors, your friends from your neighborhoods, as your comrades resisting, fighting alongside you and seeking our rights in Gezi Park! Today we are here to unveil injustices to you. Because we are the ones who have been pushed out of cities for years as the primary victims of governments and urban transformation projects, as the ones neglected by the heterosexist and capitalist system, living without legal guarantees or employment, as the ones facing insults and patriarchal violence.

What happened yesterday, on Ülker Street in 1996, where hundreds of trans women were displaced from their homes by police operations, is the same as what is happening today in the Avcılar-Meis Housing Complex where our windows are shot at and set on fire. What disrupted our living spaces in Tarlabaşı with bulldozers and deprived us of our bread and soup yesterday, is the same as what is pushing us out of Bayram Street today, which has been our home for 40 years. It is the state and the police forces.

In Şişli, in Harbiye and everywhere in this city for the last 20 years, we have been speaking out as an an organized movement against how we are treated and how are being made the targets of homophobic and transphobic violence. We have been rebelling against oppression since the beginning of history.

Because the right to life is above everything. Because the people who are subjected to all kinds of police torture and violence, whose existence is punished and whose murders are ignored, will always go on with the struggle. We remember!

We remind you! This city belongs to everyone, this city also belongs to the oppressed. This city belongs to women, children and disabled people. This city belongs to the retired, the teachers, the workers and the prostitutes. And this city also belongs to gay and trans people who have been struggling for their lives and identities since the day they were born.

Now we cry out! We cry out with honor and pride from the basement apartments you put us in, the hovels, from the father’s beating, from troubles with employers, from inside all the male-dominant languages that does not withhold insults, from universities we could not study at, from the jobs that did not let us work and fired us, from homes where we become victims of hate killings, from the courthouses where our murderers are concealed by the state, from the corrupt politics that has consumed itself where they disgracefully call us sick on the Assembly floor!

We are also citizens and we also live! We are here, get used to it and we are not leaving! [We are all here, get used to it, get used to it, we are not leaving!]

In this path that we have to set off on for freedom, we will do many things together. We will demand and win our rights in our neighborhoods and in the streets we have shared, in the parks where we fulfilled our longings and all public spaces where the state should no longer touch. We will work tooth and nail and struggle until we kick the capital economy out of this city.

And today we cry out to all of Istanbul! We do not want the ghettos deemed proper for us! We want the whole city! We want all of Istanbul!

There is no salvation and freedom when you fight alone! Freedom will be for all or for none of us!

We spoke on behalf of all the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex associations in Istanbul.

[Where are you my love? I’m here my love!]

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