8th Pink Life QueerFest Announces its “Under the Rainbow” Selection

  1. Pink Life QueerFest is almost here! The festival will be held on January 25-26-27 and will be hosted by The Kıraathane İstanbul Literature House, The French Cultural Center and The Design Workshop Kadıköy.

Here QueerFest announces the programme of its most popular section “Under the Rainbow”  which brings together critically acclaimed feature films.  The films to be shown this year are: Corpo Electrico (2017), Terror Nullius (2018), Malila: A Farewell Flower( 2017), Retablo (2017) and Rafiki (2018).

Corpo Electrico is an award-winning production and a highlight of Brazilian queer cinema. The realist film, which collected awards at various festivals including Queer Lisboa, portrays the story of a group of young people working in a textile factory in their daily lives. In the film, Elias starts working in a textile factory in São Paulo. As the workload increases with the upcoming holiday season, Elias begins to enter new social circles and encounters new emotions and experiences.

After the screening of the film, there will be a panel with the participation of a migrant LGBTI + textile worker from Denizli. In such a labor-intensive sector, the mechanisms of discrimination against LGBTI + individuals will be discussed.

Terror Nullius takes its name from the phrase terra nullius which means “land without an owner”. The film is a noteworthy example of a successful queer mashup film both due to its content and style. Filmed in Sydney in 2002 and produced by a two-person art collective Soda Jerk, which produces works at the intersection of documentary and speculative fiction genres.  Terror Nullius deconstructs Australian cinema through its story taking place on the set of the production of “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior”. The film is an eye opening criticism of colonialism and patriarchy.

Malila: A Farewell Flower was Thailand’s Oscar nomination for this year. The film deserves special attention due to its impressive cinematography and sober narrative.  Malila tells the story of Shane who is struggling with a terminal disease. The film narrates Shane’s union with their ex lover through the decorative art of “Bai Siri”, symbolizing the fragility of life and the inevitability of death. Director Anucha Boonyawatana’s first feature film Onthakan (2015) was also screened at the 5th Quer Fest.

Retablo was screened at the “Generation Films” selection of 2018 Berlinale Festival. The film takes its title from the art of “retablo” which illustrates religious stories with a technique bringing together sculpting and painting. Fourteen year old Segundo wants to become an esteemed “retablo” master just like their father and continue the family tradition. How will Segundo deal with the confrontation when their father’s secret life is revealed? Will Segundo join the mob of hatred against their father, is there another way possible? The film was very well received by last year’s Berlinale audience and got the TEDDY award.

Rafiki is another exciting new production to greet the audience in the Under the Rainbow section of the festival. Rafiki was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. It tells the story of two young women whose friendship turns into love, amidst the political differences of their families. The film was banned in Kenya, its country of production on the premises that it promoted homosexuality.

Other sections, selections and event details will be announced very soon.

Spread the love for QueerFest with the hashtag #ÇokGüzelsinYasakMısın (#URPrettyRUBanned)

“Gece, Melek ve Bizim Çocuklar” will be screened at QueerFest on its 25th anniversary

QueerFest announced their first surprise for this year’s programme. For this year’s “Ğ” section dedicated to queer productions from Turkey, the cult classic Gece, Melek ve Bizim Çocuklar (1994) will be screened on its 25th anniversary.   

Serap is a sex worker, Fulya has recently arrived Istanbul running away from her hometown, Melek is fresh out of prison and Hakan is Serap’s lover. Their paths cross in Beyoğlu, İstanbul. The film directed by Atıf Yılmaz is known for its realist and attentive take on queer culture and life in the 1990’s.

The screening will take place on Saturday, January 26th at the Fransız Kültür Merkezi (French Cultural Center), followed by a talk with the participation of the screenwriter Yıldırım Türker, the actress Deniz Türkali (nominated for an award for her role in the film) and the director Metin Akdemir.

Countdown begins for Pink Life Queer Fest!

The 8th Pink Life Queer Fest will be taking place between January 25-27 in Istanbul at Fransız Kültür Merkezi, Tasarım Atölyesi Kadıköy and Kıraathane İstanbul Edebiyat Evi.

Queer Fest is organized by The Pink Life LGBTT Solidarity Association with the aim of enhancing the inclusive potential of queer culture, restoring the hopes of LGBTT community and strengthening solidarity. The film screenings and events will be free of charge.

This year’s poster is designed by director Rüzgar Buşki. Buşki is known for directing the documentary #direnayol (2016) which was screened during the 6th Pink Life Queer Fest.

Stay tuned for the details of the upcoming programme! Spread the love with hashtag #ÇokGüzelsinYasakMısın (#YouAreSoPrettyAreYouBanned) a reference to the bans against LGBTI events in Ankara on 2017.

For more info:


Trans Activist Diren Coşkun’s Statement Upon Her Release from Prison

“I had decided to start a death fast after I was deprived of my rights in the health and justice system and exposed to isolation, discrimination and maltreatment. I sincerely thank everyone who has supported me.

Every day we witness the increase of human rights violations in prisons. In such a context, it is impossible that you don’t know how especially trans inmates are subject to discrimination and undignified treatment.

I was able to retain some of my rights thanks to your support and campaigning, but even though we were two trans women sharing a cell, my trans identity was not ignored, whereas Buse’s trans identity was ignored and so were her personal needs.

When I started my death fast I knew that these were some of the issues all trans inmates were facing, I was conscious of this. I started it knowingly, I started it for Buse. I needed you to make my voice heard so that Buse’s voice was also heard. Thank you.

Today I’m out of prison. I will continue to raise my voice for Buse and all my fellow trans inmates. Today I wrote a letter to Buse with tears in my eyes. Please write. Write to all trans inmates. Let’s not leave Buse and all others like Buse alone. Solidarity helps survival, we are stronger together.”




Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association’s Statement on December 17, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

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“Sex workers living in Turkey continue to have their rights violated.Sex workers are a target of multiple discrimination due to the intersection of their work and gender identity. Othering, stigmatization, marginalization and the violence and discrimination that come about with these attitudes prevent sex workers from leading a life as equal citizens. Added to rights violations, are poverty, patriarchy, heterosexism, whorephobia and similar factors. As such, sex workers become the primary target of “hate operations” supported by the state and social rage.

There are many studies which demonstrate the degree of discrimination and hate against sex workers. The fact stated by all of these studies is that sex workers living in Turkey are in constant threat from hate motivated criminal acts. Hate speech and hate crimes against sex workers are isolating them in all realms of life and push them into a vicious cycle which takes away their right to live.

Law enforcers target sex workers due to the legislation and practices that “regulate” sex work which in turn pushes them into working in insecure areas, being victims of organized crime and poverty. Sex workers are forced to work amidst all sorts of insecurity while also being deprived of access to justice. Violence and discrimination motivated by hate, target sex workers on a daily basis and marginalize them. Marginalization brings suicides and murders.

With love and respect, we commemorate every sex worker whose voice was unheard, who had to struggle against all kinds of violence and who were taken from us by murderers.


Source: https://www.facebook.com/KirmiziSemsiyeCinselSaglikVeInsanHaklariDernegi/photos/a.144136365792174/924137507792052/?type=3&theater

We Exist On Campus: An Interview With Dokuz Eylul University’s Eşit Şerit [Equal Stripe] Society

Source: “We Exist on Campus: Eşit Şerit” (“Kampüste varız: Eşit Şerit”), Gözde Demirbilek, Kaos GL, September 27th, 2018, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=26681.

With our new written series “We Exist In Campus” we are directing the microphone toward LGBTI+ communities at universities. Our series’ first guest is Dokuz Eylül University’s Eşit Şerit [Equal Stripe] Gender Research Society, which during fall semester started running a booth on campus. We gave the floor to Ata Alan of  Eşit Şerit.


When was Equal Stripe founded? To whom is it open?

Our society is a community of students, collaborating with local authorities and many institutions, that does work in the fields of gender and gender based violence, queer studies, and sexual health, and which works to develop space on campus where LGBTI+ individuals and women will be able to be more comfortable expressing themselves, and to strengthen solidarity towards this same aim. It has been active since April 2014, and since November 2015 it has held the status of official student group affiliated with Dokuz Eylül University’s rectorate. It is open to people who want to carry out work in these fields.    

Since starting work on campus in 2015 what kind of course has  Eşit Şerit followed?

We have tried to participate in the the politics of the Municipality of Buca where most Dokuz Eylül University students live. When we were denied space on campus, we turned this into an opportunity and contacted Buca City Council, and now we have a space there too. In April 2017, we established the Equality Council of Buca City Council, which mostly consists of students from Dokuz Eylül. We are trying to create space [for LGBTI+ individuals and women] within the university but also in Buca.        

What kind of methods did you choose to oppose the shrinking number of spaces [for LGBTI+ individuals and women]?

We try to produce solutions to problems that we face due to the university, sometimes through talking at meetings, sometimes through awareness-based activities that we organize. If the obstacles of the university administration reduce our motivation in the activities that we carry out at school, we somehow find the energy to stay together. Above all else we are friends, friends who deeply understand each other, friends who stick together. We somehow find our motivation to expand and protect this space. We are stronger together!    

Have you started work on the fall semester?

For the new semester we started a stand, we opened our first booth on the 25th of September at the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, which is located at DEU’s Dokuzçeşmeler Campus. In the coming days we will also open our stand at the various faculties that are found at DEU’s College of Education Campus and the Tınaztepe Campus. We are the ones with the rainbow [flag]!     

When is the group’s first meeting of the year?

We will hold a meeting when we finish running the booth, on the 13th of October we will meet with our new members at the cafe Dera Köşk and plan the new semester together. We are waiting for you!

LISTAG marks its 10th year with the book “Stories from the Rainbow”


LISTAG, founded by parents with LGBTI+ children in 2008, celebrated its 10th year on December 10 World Human Rights Day in Istanbul.  A reader’s theatre was organized by the LGBTI+ Parents and Relatives Group (LISTAG) in the Dutch Consulate, where passages from the book titled “Stories from Rainbow” were read.

LISTAG marked its 10th anniversary on World Human Rights Day by a reader’s theatre based on their new publication, “Stories from the Rainbow”. “Stories from the Rainbow” is a book compiled of the real life stories of families of LGBTI+ individuals from various cities of Turkey.

LISTAG was founded by several parents who had come together to support their children and to show that they are neither sick nor alone. Within ten years, the platform’s reputation has crossed borders through their work and the documentary “My Child”, which tells the story of these parents. This year, the group organized story telling trainings with the support of the Human Rights Fund from the Dutch Embassy and compiled the real life stories of people with LGBTI+ relatives or kin. The group held a book launch on December 10 World Human Rights Day at the Istanbul Dutch Consulate. The reader’s theatre was performed by the artists Ayta Sözeri, Ayça Damgacı, Haydar Köyel, Melis Öz and Seyhan Arman and was met with great acclaim.

Yasemin Zeynep Başaran, one of the co-editors of the book, made the opening speech of the 10th anniversary gathering. Başaran underlined that they wish for the book to reach wider audiences, not just LGBTI+ families and said: “Stories from the Rainbow illustrates the journey of parents who know that loving your child means understanding them and having the courage to travel the arduous and long journey of understanding through transcending prejudices of their own and of others”.

Families from LISTAG invited everyone to organize reading theatres for these stories of LGBTI+ families, as they believe that “A story changes a person, a person can change all of us”.

You can obtain a copy of “Stories from the Rainbow” by sending an e-mail to  <info@listag.org> and you can watch the videos through LISTAG accounts stated below. (The book is in Turkish)







BENİM ÇOCUĞUM (“My Child” Documentary)





*This article is a summary translation of the LISTAG press release.