Thousands March on Istiklal Avenue for ‘Trans Pride’

Source: Yıldız Tar, “Binler ‘Trans Onuru’ İçin İstiklal’de Yürüdü” (“Thousands March on Istiklal Avenue for ‘Trans Pride’”), 22 June 2014,

Thousands of people marched on Istiklal Avenue to claim trans pride and say that the state is the real perpetrator in trans murders.


The fifth trans pride week, which was organized around the theme “the state is the real perpetrator” ended with a march on Istiklal Street. The week, which commenced with putting up the rainbow flag on the Bosphorus Bridge, was also concluded with fitting glamour. Thousands of people chanted, “We are transvestites. We are here. Get used to it. We are not going anywhere.”


Police Attempts to Prevent March

Trans Pride Week Committee, which was called to march by the Istanbul LGBTI Association, was stopped at the Taksim Square entrance by the police. After police stopped the march moving forward towards Taksim Square, thousands gathered in front of the French Cultural Center. The police intervention was protested with the slogan “Police, prostitute yourself but live honorably.”[1]

After the short term police interference, thousands started marching, shouting “Don’t be silent! The trans are real.” Aside from the manner banner reading “state is the real perpetrator,” there was also a giant rainbow banner as well as a trans solidarity flag.


We will knock down this transphobic state!

Some of the slogans were, “We are transvestites, get used to us, we are not going anywhere,” “make noise against hate,” “We will knock down this transphobic state,” “Tayyip run away, the queers are coming,” “We might be queer, get used to it, we are everywhere,” and “Police, prostitute yourself but live honorably.” Those who perished during the Gezi Protests were commemorated along with trans people who were lost to hate murders. Thousands of people marched against hate with great enthusiasm.

The homophobia of the Yürüyüş (The March) Magazine was also protested with the slogan, “We do not want a transphobic revolution”, when the crowd passed by the stand of Grup Yorum. A nod to the revolution in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) was given with the slogan “Biji berxwedana YPG.”


Trans are beautiful!

After the hours-long march, the crowd finally reached Tünel Square. Here, an “Alternative Beauty Pageant” was conducted to counter normative pageants that push the heterosexist sense of beauty. With the motto, “trans are beautiful”, all participants were declared winners.

Our lives are not this cheap!

A press release was read by the Istanbul LGBTI, emphasizing that 49 trans women were victims of hate murders in only two years. Istanbul LGBTI declared “our sorrow is too great” and “our lives are not this cheap,” while promising to resist all pressures by claiming trans pride.


The press release is provided below:

“49 trans women in the past two years have been victims of hate murders. From what we know, 70 trans women have been killed since 2002.”

Our sorrow is too great:

“Seda’s court case ended yesterday. Seda was the trans who was beaten to death and thrown in the mosque garden after the campaign to exile trans people from Avcılar Meis Housing Complex. Her killer’s sentence was decreased from life imprisonment to 15 years with the possibility of parole in eight, citing the fact that the victim was a trans individual.”

“There are thousands of trans women in these lands, who lose their lives due to this systematic violence of the state. This is because the state pushes violence, discrimination, racism, othering, cruelty and overbearance as a way of life.”

“This, obviously, is not the first murder. Unfortunately, it will not be the last. As we have been saying for years on the streets, in squares and in front of the barricades, trans murders are systematic and political. The state continues to leave the door ajar for the massacre of trans individuals by the compromises and encouragement provided to all killers. It looks as if the state points to trans individuals as free targets for everyone to vent their stress against.”

“Those in power, the rulers, the masters! Those who refuse to hear us, those who only know us through biased news items in government backed tabloids. We know very well the meaning of these repeated murders.


We are furious! Never forget this!

“Our resolve to change this course of events is getting stronger. We will stop the hate murders and trans killings!

We know that trans people are not the only victims of these crimes and massacres. We pursue justice for the eight souls lost since the beginning of the Gezi Resistance, the two souls who were killed because they went up against the building of new army camps in Lice as well as tens of people under arrest and custody such as Evrim and Murat, who were arrested during their struggle for democracy in Dersim. The women and children who continue to suffer all kinds of torture including rape by men are different faces and victims of the same brand of slaughter. Transsexuals are the easiest targets in this slaughter, which they are trying to spin as normal. All of these murders are being committed in the name of nationalism, purity, family, morality and religion.


Our lives are not this cheap!

“It is our duty to remind you! Our lives are not this cheap! Our eyes are open and our will is one hundred percent. We will come back hardened and stronger after every attack. We will continue to resist to the systematic violence by the police and the state.”

“Those who declare themselves to be the rulers, hear this! We have started our struggle because you will not grant us our rights, but we will do whatever is necessary to take them.”

In the struggle against hate crimes against LGBTI people, a new regulation that includes the terms ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘sexual identity’ has to be drawn up.”

“The regulations on ‘prostitution’ that is the vehicle to force trans sex workers to be in unsafe environments has to be changed. The right to work in your preferred profession has to be guaranteed and the conditions of LGBTI individuals’ employment must be improved.”

“Soliciting should be seen as a legitimate occupation and sex workers must be granted union rights.”

“Efforts should be made against the discriminatory stance of the judicial system and the security forces on trans individuals. The reductions made to the sentences of trans individuals’ killers on the grounds of ‘unjust provocation’ and ‘good behavior’ must come to an end. The hate aspect of the murders must be emphasized.”


We would like to remind you!

“We are following the case Ahmet Yıldız, who was murdered by his family.”

“We are also following the deep wounds that the dirty war in Kurdistan has created. We are the supporters of, and the pursuers of, justice for the Kurdish youngsters that were killed, the exiled LGBTI individuals, the destroyed villages, ruined natural habitats and the suffering of the Kurdish people in general.”

We are watching Soma

“We are also watching intensely the case of the Soma Mine Workers, who were sent to work in unsafe and primitive tunnels for next to nothing.”

“Gay and trans murders are political. The violence directed at trans individual are just another face of the violence on gays, women, disabled, HIV positive individuals, Kurds, Armenians, Alevis, Romani, Socialists, Workers, laborers, refugees as well as nature.”


The real perpetrator for all this violence is the state!

“We shout now with this information in mind. We will struggle until we poke a hole in your stinking establishment. We will resist with trans pride on the streets, in the parks, in front of the barricades and in prisons.

Down with your moral hypocrisy!

In spite of hate, we lust for life!

We will knock down this transphobic state!”

[1] A derivation of the Gezi Park slogan: “Police, sell bagels but live honorably.”

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