Pride in Turkey

History and news on LGBTI and Trans Prides in Turkey

The 25th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Wants Your Support

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week, first organized under the name of “Sexual Freedom Week,” is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. You can support the week, which is organized by a group of volunteers each year, both financially and by sending your event suggestions.

Istanbul LGBTI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Plus) Pride Week will take place between 19-25 June 2017.

In 1993, “Sexual Freedom Week” was banned by the governor’s office, the week’s events and the Pride March were not allowed, activists were detained, and international guests were deported. In the following years, Pride Week faced other prohibitions but continued to host events. Despite the bans, the movement’s demands and the social support it received grew and the first Istanbul Pride March took place in 2003, exactly 10 years after the start of Pride Week. The first march had 20-30 people and this has multiplied every year. In 2013, an estimated 100,000 people joined the march on Istiklal Avenue. In 2015 and 2016, Pride Marches were, unexpectedly, prevented by police. But the LGBTI+ movement, prepared to keep up its struggle, “dispersed” across Istiklal Avenue and throughout Istanbul for the 14th Pride March.

This year, LGBTI+ people and opponents of homophobia/biphobia/transphobia will celebrate the 25th year of being together, visibility of LGBTI+ people, and the continued struggle for rights. They will tell the story of growing from 30 people to tens of thousands, they will listen, and they will rewrite.

If you would like to support Pride Week…

This year’s Pride Week volunteer organizers are calling for everyone to rally in support of Pride Week! As in the past, Pride Week expenses are largely covered by the fundraising efforts of our supporters. Those who can provide financial support to help make Pride Week a success, please donate by visiting the Istanbul Pride Week fundraising campaign on Indiegogo.

Open call for artists to exhibit during Pride Week…

The Pride Week exhibition “Nerdeen Nereye,” which holds the belief that the personal is political, and the political is personal, will take place during the 25th Annual Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week and is calling for artwork from all fields that fit within the theme of “Geography,” both in terms of bodies and lands. Artists who would like to have their work included in the exhibition, taking place at GalleriBu from June 17th – July 8th, should send all inquiries and applications to nerdeennereye@gmail.com by May 31st.

Pride Week organization meetings continue…

Responding to the call every year, Pride Week organizers are made up of an independent group of volunteers. This body takes decisions jointly, and operates within an anti-hierarchical and anti-violence solidarity model. Those who would like to support Pride Week programming, including panels, forums, workshops, plays, film screenings etc., are invited to send in their proposals to istanbulpride@gmail.com by May 14th. For those who wish to join Pride Week as a volunteer, Pride Week meetings are held every Wednesday in Taksim.

What will happen during the Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week?

Each year the week is organized around a central theme — previously including Attention Family!, Taboo, Memory, Resistance, Interaction, Normal and last year We are organizing! The events are free of charge and open to all. This year in forums, panels, plays, and movies, we will discuss topics in the LGBTI+ agenda like health, visibility, and constitutional rights, and we will also discuss alternative ways to weave political togetherness amid the state of emergency and increasing pressures.

If you believe “if you’re not here, we’re one too few!” make your donation to support the Istanbul Pride Week at the link below.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/2017-istanbul-lgbti-pride-week-lgbt#/

For Interviews and Special News Requests: Emre Demir 0 (543) 595 36 70 / istanbulpride@gmail.com

http://tr.prideistanbul.org

Editor’s Note: The Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Commission added the “+” last year stating that “we are aiming to socialize the consciousness that all combinations of the rainbow exist and that one cannot assign an identity to anyone by looking at them from the outside.”

My Pride Story: Go On to Shout “We Are Queer, We Are Here, Get Used To It!”

Today in Pride Stories: This photograph, taken when we broke our friend taken into custody away from the police, actually shows where my story comes from.

Cüneyt Yılmaz’s Pride Story

I guess it was 2007. My friend Cihan, studying in Trabzon, wanted to stay in my house when he came to Istanbul for Pride. In brief, he came and stayed, Pride was a day later and I can remember his enthusiasm even today. When we were on the bus on the way to Taksim, he was champing at the bit and his heart almost stopped from excitement. Well, of course he was one of the most popular queers of the time and he used to write for Kaos GL periodically.

pridekacis

I, on the other hand, used to be a ghetto-gay and live my queerness in my quiet life. We went to Taksim, Pride was about to start, I let Cihan reach that colorful, glowing crowd, and then I disappeared into the side streets of Taksim. I was watching the crowd from the side, I was changing my location with the fear of being seen, I was running away in order to avoid to run into someone familiar. The night of that day, based on my reviews, I planned to be open and visible, to join Pride even from the back or with either masks, glasses or other ornaments. However, I could not make it because of some reasons that I cannot even finish writing here.

Afterwords, my queerness got stronger year after year. Just then, I participated Pride 2012 vaingloriously, and with our increased visibility during the Gezi Occupation 2013, I proudly shouted ‘Don’t you dare to make me stop!’

I have never skipped a Pride until the first Pride that I attended in 2010. With the ‘call of dispersing’ last Sunday, we dispersed into every street of Taksim by waving our rainbow flag. The photograph, taken when we broke our friend, who was taken into custody, away from the police, actually shows where my story comes from.

For the sake of our friends who have been murdered, or committed suicide (which is another form of murder)… By becoming Ivana Hoffman, we will continue to fight against darkness, cruelty and homophobia, to live, to laugh, to make love, to kiss.

With our persistence and consistence of last year’s banned Pride, I consider it a duty to march in Trans Pride and Pride from beginning to the end.

We will continue to be in the very front, to be seen, to shout ‘we are queer, we are here, get used to it’ as police and government violence, homophobic and transphobic attacks, verbal harassments and physical abuses, trans murders and hate speeches continue, I will.

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 web@kaosgl.org, 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.

LGBTIs dispersed all around Istanbul for Istanbul Pride

Police attacked throughout the day, LGBTIs resisted the attack by “dispersing” around the streets of Beyoğlu, Kadıköy and Şişli. When the committee was not allowed to read out the press statement in Tünel, the text was read in many locations around Taksim. At least 25 were detained.[1]

Source: KaosGL,  “LGBTI’ler Istanbul’un her yerine ‘dağıldı’”, June 26, 2016, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=21962

LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee, called for dispersing all around Beyoğlu, following the ban against the Pride March.

Police blockaded Taksim and Istiklal Avenue. All through the day the activists against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia said “We existed, we exist and we will exist” with rainbow flags, all around Beyoğlu.

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Members of EP were also detained

The committee was not allowed to hold a press release at Tünel. Police did not let journalists stand in Tünel Square, where the statement was to be read after 16:00. Seven people from the LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee were battered while being detained. Member of German Federal Assembly Volker Beck and Member of European Parliament Terry Reintke were briefly taken into custody and released. Two of Reintke’s aides, Felix Banaszak and Max Lucks were among the detained.

Press statement was read everywhere

The press statement was read in many public and private locations in Beyoğlu and Şişli. Among these locations were Cihangir, HDK office, SYKP office, Mis Street, Tel Street, Istiklal Avenue, Kadıköy Lambdaistanbul office and Kurtuluş. Many individuals also read the press statement written by the committee, from where they stood. The full text was read on 95.1 FM Özgür Radio as well.

Police attacks [have] continued throughout the day in Mis Street, İmam Adnan Street, Istiklal Avenue and Firuzağa. According to the information received by the crisis desk during the police attacks, at least 19 were detained [1], one person was shot on the face by a gas cannister. Reporter Metin Cihan was also among the detained.

“Society is none other than us”

The full text of the press statement that was banned by the police but read all around Beyoğlu and Şişli is below:

“The reason why we are reading this press statement today is because the 14th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March has been banned.

Pride Marches are among the biggest, multi-voiced, and mass demonstrations that this country has witnessed. In our marches, we stand up to this dark time that is our share in world history, with our love and desire. We hold those who seize our labor accountable, we take our destiny into our hands, we dream our own future. We defend peace instead of war, courage instead of fear, and all who are oppressed. We show that a different world, sexuality, body, and life is possible. Those who banned our march used “society’s sensitivities” as an excuse. But what’s being guarded is not society’s but the government’s sensitivities. Society is none other than us. What’s being banned is our attempt to voice our longing to exist as proud people of this world, our demands, peace, justice, and equality. Banning our march is an unsuccessful attempt to silence our voices.

Unsuccessful because the pride of our existence grows with every oppression. We proudly own all the insults they throw at us to hurt us. We are expanding our limited spaces with solidarity. We are leading a revolution on every street we walk, on every work day, every house, every love and every act of lovemaking. We are killed and reborn in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antep, Diyarbakir, Mexico, Bangladesh, and Orlando. We will always exist, shout out our existence, and always be proud of our existence.”

“We just started marching”

“We are not marching today but we just started marching [forwards]. The sound of our slogans is in our ears, the colors of the rainbow are with us, the scent of freedom is in our noses. We are on this path to demand more than tolerance and permits. We are continually strengthening our resistance everywhere to demand that our personal, political, and social rights are guaranteed; that sexual orientation and gender identity are included in the constitution; and that the reality of the LGBTI+ movement as a political participant is recognized.

We are dispersing, we are stronger, bigger, and louder. They are right to be afraid of us because we are uniting, growing, and marching.”

 

[1] Final number of people detained is 29. All were released the same day.

 

We Dispersed on Every Street for the 14th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March

On Sunday, 26 June we “dispersed” everywhere on Istiklal Avenue against the Istanbul Governor’s Office’s ban on 19 June Trans Pride March and Istanbul LGBT+ Pride March and press statement. Our press statement was read on numerous streets, our rainbow flag hung on buildings, the streets undulating. Among those who read our press statement was also Terry Reintke, Member of European Parliament.

From time to time, the police intervened on our friends dispersed around various corners of Istiklal Avenue with tear gas and detained 29 people. All of our friends who were detained have been released.

You can watch the press statement read throughout the day here.

Our Press Statement:

Make noise, shout, and scream wherever you are, wherever you are organized! #wedisperse #dağılıyoruz

The reason why we are reading this press statement today is because the 14th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March has been banned.

Pride Marches are among the biggest, multi-voiced, and mass demonstrations that this country has witnessed. In our marches, we stand up to this dark time that is our share in world history, with our love and desire. We hold those who seize our labor accountable, we take our destiny into our hands, we dream our own future. We defend peace instead of war, courage instead of fear, and all who are oppressed. We show that a different world, sexuality, body, and life is possible. Those who banned our march used “society’s sensitivities” as an excuse. But what’s being guarded is not society’s but the government’s sensitivities. Society is none other than us. What’s being banned is our attempt to voice our longing to exist as proud people of this world, our demands, peace, justice, and equality. Banning our march is an unsuccessful attempt to silence our voices.

Unsuccessful because the pride of our existence grows with every oppression. We proudly own all the insults they throw at us to hurt us. We are expanding our limited spaces with solidarity. We are leading a revolution on every street we walk, on every work day, every house, every love and every act of lovemaking. We are killed and reborn in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antep, Diyarbakir, Mexico, Bangladesh, and Orlando. We will always exist, shout out our existence, and always be proud of our existence.

We are not marching today but we just started marching [forwards]. The sound of our slogans is in our ears, the colors of the rainbow are with us, the scent of freedom is in our noses. We are on this path to demand more than tolerance and permits. We are continually strengthening our resistance everywhere to demand that our personal, political, and social rights are guaranteed; that sexual orientation and gender identity are included in the constitution; and that the reality of the LGBTI+ movement as a political participant is recognized.

We are dispersing, we are stronger, bigger, and louder. They are right to be afraid of us because we are uniting, growing, and marching.

 

Video of detentions during Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride

[00:00:05] Police: Take this one!

[00:00:06] LGBTI+ Activist: It’s our natural right to read our press statement!

[00:00:07] Police: Disperse! Disperse!

[00:00:10] LGBTI+ Activist: It’s our natural right! // Police: Take this one!

[00:00:12] LGBTI+ Activist: Let us speak for once!

[00:00:15] LGBTI+ Activist: Wait a second! Wait a moment!

[00:00:17] Police: Disperse! // His supposed natural right!

[00:00:19] Police: Take this one!

[00:00:24] Police: His supposed natural right!

[00:00:25] Police: Take this one too! Take this one too!

[00:00:27] LGBTI+ Activist: No!

[00:00:33] Police: You’re banned brother, everyone go home!

[00:00:36] Police: Get out! Disperse!

[00:00:42] Police: His supposed right!

[00:00:47] Police: Come on move! // LGBTI+ Activist: Just a second!

[00:00:48] Police: Come on!

[00:00:51] Police: Go on, disperse!

[00:00:51] Police: Take this one too!

[00:00:53] Police: Take those too!

[00:00:55] Police: Disperse! / Walk! What are you waiting for?

[00:00:58] Police: What are you waiting for!

[00:00:59] Police: Disperse folks, disperse!

[00:01:03] Police: Okay, alright! // Walk already!

[00:01:08] Police: Come on brother!

[00:01:09] International guest: Wait, wait wait! (Showing his ID)

[00:01:11] LGBTI+ Activist: One moment! One moment!

[00:01:18] Police: Get out!

[00:01:29] MEP Terry Reintke: He’s with me! He’s with me!

14th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee Press Statement on 26 June 2016

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Committee could not complete their press statement in Tünel. However, LGBTI+ “dispersed” and continue to read the press statement at safe locations. Links below.

The reason why we are reading this press statement today is because the 14th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March has been banned.

Pride Marches are among the biggest, multi-voiced, and mass demonstrations that this country has witnessed. In our marches, we stand up to this dark time that is our share in world history, with our love and desire. We hold those who seize our labor accountable, we take our destiny into our hands, we dream our own future. We defend peace instead of war, courage instead of fear, and all who are oppressed. We show that a different world, sexuality, body, and life is possible. Those who banned our march used “society’s sensitivities” as an excuse. But what’s being guarded is not society’s but the government’s sensitivities. Society is none other than us. What’s being banned is our attempt to voice our longing to exist as proud people of this world, our demands, peace, justice, and equality. Banning our march is an unsuccessful attempt to silence our voices.

Unsuccessful because the pride of our existence grows with every oppression. We proudly own all the insults they throw at us to hurt us. We are expanding our limited spaces with solidarity. We are leading a revolution on every street we walk, on every work day, every house, every love and every act of lovemaking. We are killed and reborn in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antep, Diyarbakir, Mexico, Bangladesh, and Orlando. We will always exist, shout out our existence, and always be proud of our existence.

We are not marching today but we just started marching [forwards]. The sound of our slogans is in our ears, the colors of the rainbow are with us, the scent of freedom is in our noses. We are on this path to demand more than tolerance and permits. We are continually strengthening our resistance everywhere to demand that our personal, political, and social rights are guaranteed; that sexual orientation and gender identity are included in the constitution; and that the reality of the LGBTI+ movement as a political participant is recognized.

We are dispersing, we are stronger, bigger, and louder. They are right to be afraid of us because we are uniting, growing, and marching.

Photographs by Şener Yılmaz Aslan

Source: https://www.facebook.com/prideistanbul/videos/929854223808858/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/istanbullgbti/videos/1010217819055947/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/ekinyasa/videos/10209691695110490/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/reisof/videos/1238197612871136/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/prideistanbul/videos/929893753804905/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/prideistanbul/videos/929899170471030/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/prideistanbul/videos/929916480469299/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/prideistanbul/videos/929918987135715/

Source: https://www.facebook.com/nihal.noraluca/videos/10157270513035713/

Source: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1320791064615656&id=153245714703536

Genetically Modified Tomato Awards Presented: 140Journos, Istanbul University…

12th Genetically Modified Tomato Awards were  distributed at the ceremony on Thursday. Boysan Yakar, Zeliş Deniz and Mert Serçe, the activists who lost their lives last year, were also commemorated in the ceremony.

Source: “Hormonlu Domatesler Sahiplerini Buldu: 140Journos, İstanbul Üniversitesi…”, BİA Haber Merkezi, June 24, 2016, http://bianet.org/bianet/lgbti/176181-hormonlu-domatesler-sahiplerini-buldu-140journos-istanbul-universitesi

12th Genetically Modified Tomato Awards found their new winners on Thursday in a ceremony at Şişli Urban Cultural Center.

There were stage performances at the ceremony and the entire audience danced to commemorate the three activists who lost their lives last year, Boysan Yakar, Zeliş Deniz and Mert Serçe.

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Yeni Akit daily received the majority of the votes in the media category with its headline “The number of deaths increased to 50 at the bar visited by the perverted homosexuals” following the Orlando attack, but since the newspaper has continuously perpetrated hate speech with its news and won the award repeatedly, it was given the “Lifetime Genetically Modified Tomato” award.

In the “media” category the award was merited by 140 Journos, which used a transphobic language while covering last year’s Trans Beauty Pageant, and announced its nomination for Genetically Modified Tomato Awards upon the criticism it received. Other nominees in this category were Sabah daily, Cem Keçe and Hürriyet Aile, Hayrettin Karaman of Yeni Şafak, Milat daily and its reporter Enes Babacan, Vahdet daily, Milli Gazete and Yeni Akit.

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