My Pride Story: Istiklal has never been so beautiful

Today in Pride stories: Friends calling to ask “are you ok”, my brother calling to ask “what are you doing with those fags” (!)

Cihan’s Pride story

When I read Hakan’s Pride story in the middle of the night, I said to myself “Yes, I have to share mine as well”.

Last year’s Pride March was my first Pride as well. In the previous years I was mostly held back by my make-up exams – I’m not lazy, studying medicine is hard work- and more importantly visibility was a problem for me. I was thinking that I would be somehow visible among the tens of thousands of people and not having an Istanbulite koli [1] to stay with and being poor had impacts as well.

Let’s get to 2015. I didn’t care about visibility anymore, especially after forming Kaws Kuzah Antakya LGBTI community and taking wonderful steps, how could I not come to Pride March? Don’t misunderstand me, I still had brutal make-up exams, but this time the date worked out. I got off the plane on Friday night and my Pride weekend started with my lover picking me up at Sabiha (Gökçen Airport). What do you mean, I both have a lover and he picked me up? Oh, what an interesting life some people have.

We couldn’t join the Saturday entertainments of the Pride. Making love was much more attractive.

Let’s come to the big day…

First we joined the Alevi meeting in Kadıköy for July 2.[2] This naming is a bit weird but if leftist big brothers and big sisters said so, we’ll shut up. Those we have lost were remembered, saz [3] were played. Oh God, what a day, full of action.

We wore worker’s jumpsuits and put helmets on our heads, to greet the workers’ resistance rising in 2015.  We got on a boat. When the Kabataş ferry got full, we decided to take the Karaköy ferry, we would catch up from the southern side. In spite of all the barriers, from Police roadblocks to the ban on our clothes, our flag, our banners, we still made it to [Istiklal] avenue. Erinç giirrrl, you were there too, videos and all, kisses to you. Istiklal never seemed so beautiful to me before. My sister Demhat with her ethnic outfit joined from back alleys, then we saw Meloş and Gözde. Oh my God, all of us sinners together, slogans, gas, water cannons, we were resisting. My friends calling me to ask “are you ok”, my brother calling to ask “what are you doing with those fags” (!) It was a day of achievement with respect to LGBTI politics. I thank everyone who came, resisted, undressed, made love and I thank Istanbul LGBTI Association for opening their doors and sunflower seed packs.

Was 2015 Pride ominous for relationships or what? We broke up as well and stuff. I couldn’t count 500 words, sorry.

Stories multiply as they are shared. If you would like to tell your Pride story as well, send your writing of maximum 500 words to , we will publish it on both Kaos GL and LGBTI News Turkey both in Turkish and English. Do not forget to include your name or nickname.

Translator’s notes:

[1] In Turkish LGBTI slang, koli refers to a sex partner.

[2]  July 2 is the commemoration of the events that took place in Madımak Hotel in Sivas on July 2, 1993. An Islamist mob burned down the Hotel, where mostly Alevi intellectuals had congregated for a festival. 33 of those intellectuals and 2 hotel workers were killed by the flames and the smoke.

[3]  Saz is a traditional stringed musical instrument.


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