17th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March, which we organised for today, has been banned by the Istanbul Governorate for the fifth time!
The Istanbul Governorate, which closes Istiklal Street to all social opposition groups for security reasons, has unlawfully rejected our application to gather in Bakırkoy – a legally announced public demonstration place – with the claim that we are a group which society is ‘hesitant’ about. This ban shows that not only Taksim but Istanbul as a whole is prohibited for LGBTI+ people. The hostility towards the LGBTI+ community has even become a state policy with other bans in Antalya, Mersin, METU [Middle East Technical University], and Izmir.
It is once again demonstrated that those who ban our Pride March with copy-and-paste reasons such as public peace and security, terror, public morality, and public health can not govern the state. Previously organised in a peaceful manner, the Pride March does not threaten the public peace – it is the law enforcement who has attacked the public in Pride Marches in the last five years.
It is ironic that those who are abusing their power, stealing from the public, and presenting their own obsession of power as a perpetuity problem of the state are striving to ban us on the ground of so-called public morality. Those state officials who do not hesitate to fuel the hate against LGBTI+ people, and those who targeted the LGBTI+ community three times in a week for a couple of votes they wished to receive should not forget the fact that LGBTI+s are the society itself. Those who point at us as a target are a handful of power addicts who will sink into oblivion.
We persistently repeat for those who ignore the demands of LGBTI+ people, for those who attempt to show us as a “disoriented” and “hesitant” group: We are determined in our struggle, and we know what we want very well! Sexual orientation and gender identity must be recognised in the Constitution! Homicides targeting the LGBTI+ community must not go unpunished, and the perpetrators must not be granted abatement for good conduct. The rights of LGBTI+ people, who are blocked from accessing fundamental human rights such as education, health, and housing, must be legally secured. Our demands neither disturb the public peace nor threatens public security. Our demands are essential in a constitutional state in order for us to access equal citizenship rights. Those who are banning our march today must know that the public peace will only be provided if all the oppressed social groups, including LGBTI+ people, seize their rights and are assured their lives. Social peace is not possible in an unequal society!
It is the 50th year of our organised struggle for a proud live since the spark that was ignited at Stonewall. In the 50th year of Stonewall, and in the 27th year of Istanbul Pride Week, we once again acknowledge the struggle by taking spirit from it [as] we fight for our bodies, desires, rights, and existence all over the world, from Orlando to New Delhi, from Palestine to Amsterdam: we neither abandon our lives and solidarity, nor collective struggle! We are here! Get used to it – we are not going away!
Happy 27th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week and 17th Pride March!