Pride in Turkey

History and news on LGBTI and Trans Prides in Turkey

The statement of METU LGBTI+ Solidarity Group on the bans for the 9th METU Pride March

The statement of METU LGBTI+ Solidarity on the METU Administration’s decision to ban the 9th METU Pride March:

Source: The statement of METU LGBTI+ Solidarity on the METU Administration’s decision to ban the 9th METU Pride March (ODTÜ Lgbti+ Dayanışması’nın Onur Yürüyüşüne yasak kararına ilişkin açıklaması), Lubunya Dayanışma Ağı / Lubunya Solidarity Network https://www.facebook.com/lubunyadayanismagi/photos/a.1731041177022948/2032498373543892/?type=3&theater, 7 May 2019

The METU Rectorate has sent an e-mail to all students, graduates, and academics of the university today around at 14:00. In the e-mail, the rectorate announced that the 9th METU Pride March, which is allegedly organized by “various non-governmental organizations”, shall not be permitted since it is an LGBTI+ event and there is, the rectorate claims, still a ban against the march, and it shall be met with police violence if any event is organized. In an environment where there is no such a ban, the METU Administration is trying to manipulate the situation by acting as if such a ban still exists.

It should be noted that METU LGBTI+ Solidarity which has been targeted by the police for years, would organize the 9th METU Price March on May 10. METU LGBTI+ Solidarity has made great efforts to secure gender equality, fight against LGBTI+ phobia, and ensure that the campus is a safe place for the past 23 years and shall continue doing so. Throughout the e-mail, METU Administration discriminates against METU LGBTI+ Solidarity and the LGBTI+ students pointing them out as a target, just as it has been doing for many years. This is a violation of basic human rights as well as METU’s tradition and culture. Besides, the METU Administration is in violation of international human rights agreements such as the Istanbul Convention which Turkey is a signatory of and breaches the EGERA Charter for Gender Sensitive Governance and the EGERA Charter for Gender Sensitive Communication that our school is a part of.

The METU Pride March is not organized by a variety of non-governmental organizations, but by METU LGBTI+ Solidarity. Presenting the demand for permission as something marginal is absurd and irrational, just like the reason for cancelling the Spring Festival last week claiming that it is because of “LGBT, Marxist, extreme leftist, HDP groups”. It is clear that this announcement fits the pro-government media or Zaytung* better. As seen from the protests demanding the Spring Festival, the administration does not represent METU traditions and thought that it could ban the march, threatening the whole METU community with police violence.

The most saddening part is that the METU Administration aspires to be a one-man regime fitting this country’s mentality of lawlessness. The bans against LGBTI+ events, imposed  both during and after the state of emergency, has been lifted by the court after stating that no ban of this extent can be introduced even during the state of emergency. In addition, CİMER (Presidential Communication Centre) has confirmed that there is no such general ban and each event shall be evaluated on its own. All the detailed statements in relation to the legal status are available as attached.

We call out to all METU people as well as those who want to protect freedoms; to the people who are against LGBTI+ phobia, sexism, discrimination, and patriarchy. Come here and let’s defend life in spite those who are full of hatred. Let’s spread our peaceful parade and rainbow celebration with marches and events for the whole of METU on May 10.

You can find detailed information relating to the legal status below:

https://tinyurl.com/lgbtiyasakkarar

METU LGBTI+ SOLIDARITY

We invite you to support with the hashtag #ODTUyeRenkVer

*Translator’s note: Zaytung is an online satirical magazine based in Turkey

Also see our article on the lifting of the LGBTI Activitities ban in Ankara and the protests on the METU campus in support of the spring festival.

On the Third Day of Mersin Pride Week: We are Getting Wet!

Mersin Pride will continue through the week. Today, July 11, marks the third day of events and the 4th Mersin Pride is once more about resistance!

Source: “On the Third Day of Mersin Pride Week: We are Getting Wet!”, (Mersin Onur Haftası’nın Üçüncü Gününde:Islanıyoruz!”, pembehayat, July 11, 2018,  http://www.pembehayat.org/haberler.php?id=1837       

The 4th Mersin Pride events will continue throughout the week, starting with pride swimming on July 9, 2018. There will be panels and exhibitions which curate topics which range from the forced migration of LGBTI+ people, to a forum and discussion about the rejection of masculinity, to the opening of an art show titled Night” which focuses on the life of Elif–who could not endure her family’s pressure and committed suicide. On day three of Mersin Pride Week, there will be an event titled “A Rejection Story: The Ugly Duckling and Finding our Own Swans.”

Another event taking place on the third day of the pride week is “We are Getting Wet: A Gullüm Knowledge Contest.” Mersin Pride Week will continue to open spaces for struggle through resistance, just as it began this year with the adoption of the same slogan.

Don’t Forget to Stop by Night!

Night” is an exhibition that focuses on the life of a trans woman who spoke with Pembe Hayat about her experience at the factory she worked in, including the harassment she was subjected to which resulted in her leaving her job, and who later committed suicide.

Works by Raziye Köksal Kartal and Ateş Alpar focus on Elif’s point of view and her life in Mersin. Kartal, who spoke at the opening of the exhibition, said they titled the exhibition after Elif’s dog as a way to remember her.

You can find out more about Mersin Pride Week by checking out their Facebook page here.

 

Governorship of Adana bans the Pride March

The Adana Governorship has banned the first-to-be Pride March with the alleged justifications of “public safety”and “social sensitivity”.

Source: “Governorship of Adana bans the Pride March” (“Adana Valiliği, Onur Yürüyüşü’nü yasakladı”), kaosgl.org, July 6, 2018, http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=26222.

The Adana Governorship has banned the Pride March that was supposed to take place tomorrow [7th of June]. The first march planned by the Adana LGBTI+ Solidarity has been banned by the Adana Governorship due to the supposed threats to public safety and social sensitivity.

The governorship in the official proclamation of the ban has stated:

“…[It was determined that ] this event which is to take place in an open space will incite hatred and hostility amongst a section of the public  with different characteristics in terms of social class, race, religion, sect or region against another part of society, that this might lead to imminent peril with regards to public security, that considering the intel regarding the terrorist groups preparing to act against opposing groups, that there may be reactions and provocations against the groups and individuals taking part in the organization due to certain social sensibilities and thus is not appropriate to take place”

There will be a press release

Adana LGBTI+ Solidarity has decided to have a press release tomorrow [7th of June] at 17.00 in the Adana Human Rights Association after the ban has been issued. The press release will cover the process regarding the ban and cancellation process of the first to be pride march of Adana with the theme “ban”.

Yeni Akit has targeted the Solidarity

Meanwhile, the Yeni Akit Gazette has targeted the Adana Pride March with their article titled “Mobil Homos are after provocation.”  After the gazette’s prior attack and call for a “ban” on the Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March, the Adana Governorship has banned the Adana Pride March.

 

2018 Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March Press Statement

LGBTI+ activists will be reading the following press statement from 18:00 on in every corner of Taksim, Istanbul.

The 16th Pride March has been banned by the Istanbul governor’s office for the third time [sic. fourth- pride has been banned since 2015]. The governor has once again committed a crime by discriminating against a specific part of society. Ankara governor’s ban on LGBTI+ events with no end date and the obstacles towards Pride marches in the past years show these bans are not against actions but against ways of existing. The governor’s decision is part of the existent hate and is illegitimate. This is why Pride marches are important and they should take place. We LGBTI+ are here with our pride despite all vain attempts to prevent us and we do not recognize this ban.

The governor cited the excuse of security in its decision to ban the march and in one word, this is comical. Our marches went on peacefully without being banned for 13 years. These marches increased in size and created a space for us LGBTI+s who face hate because of our existence to feel safe and make our voices heard. Instead of this peaceful march, the hate crimes the state has committed and police violence have become undeniably visible.

Like every year, we are here, on these streets. Our laughter, our exclamations, our slogans still echo in these streets.

We miss the marches attended by thousands where we celebrate our visibility. We make fun of those who try to place boundaries on us by the pride of our existence and the strength of our pride.

We call on you to also make fun of those who try to place boundaries on our identities, orientations, existences, bodies, languages, desires and everything that make us us. We grow as we transcend our own boundaries and become freer. We extend our boundless, non-gendered spaces into the streets. We stand against those who try to confine us within boundaries and force us into ghettos, those who try to push us out and change our spaces: we don’t give up on Taksim.

Now, from here: From Taksim, we greet Buse who is imprisoned in Tekirdag within the state’s transphobic law. Twenty six days ago Buse said stop to the boundaries imposed on her body and started a death fast. We shout once again that the state’s bans and legal obstacles are political and will not deter us from our fight to exist.

We are here with our enthusiasm and energy to give strength to not just us but everyone who has been bound by one man’s will in this geography. We remind all of society that without us, the struggle against the one-man regime will not succeed.

We are in Taksim, we are determined to transcend boundaries, we are not going anywhere. May our 26th Pride Week be merry and happy for all of us.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/istanbulpride/photos/a.191888724272082.41018.160223430771945/1679726622154944/?type=3&theater

Istanbul Pride Week Committee’s Announcement Regarding Governor’s Decision Against the Pride March

Istanbul Pride Week Committee announced that the Pride March is to take place in spite of Governorship’s decision to ban the march. Below is the written statement published by the committee:

Source: “Our announcement to the public and press” (“Basına ve kamuoyuna duyurumuzdur”), Istanbul Pride Week Committee, June 29, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/istanbulpride/posts/1677107182416888:0

OUR ANNOUNCEMENT TO THE PUBLIC AND PRESS

“As Istanbul Pride Week Committee, we came together to organize the Pride March which is to take place in the last week of June as every year. Our Pride Week and March are very important for us to celebrate the pride we feel for our existence and to provide our visibility in a society in which we are systematically rendered invisible and are taught to be ashamed for our identities. It is no secret that the Pride March, which is ever more crowded with each year, takes place on the last Sunday of the month. We have been struggling with the same determination for the last 26 years, to make our call for the march be heard and to be visible.

As Article 3 of the Law on Assembly and Marches indicates, it is every citizen’s right to organize an assembly and march as long as it is peaceful, without prior permissions. However, as it is the case every year, this year too, we requested a meeting with the governorship in order to discuss our march, which is known to all the world. In the meeting we had with the governor’s aide, we were told that in previous years the march coincided with Ramadan in recent years, that this is not a hindrance this year as it is not Ramadan, however it is up to the Governor to decide.

After the meeting, the committee send a written notice regarding the week and the march to the Governorship. Unfortunately, the Governor’s reply points to the Law on Assembly and Marches which is supposed to protect our right to protest, and states that they will not be able to ensure our security, therefore it is not appropriate to organize the Pride March.

Pride March has been organized for 16 years and had taken place without any security issues for thirteen years straight, prior to the police assaults. Governorship of Istanbul stated Ramadan and security issues as an excuse first, yet for the last two years the march has not coincided with Ramadan and this year it has not received any threats, which demonstrates that the premises for the governorship’s bans are merely excuses and indeed the governorship’s decision is a part of the hatred against us.

The governor is committing a crime by using his authority to discriminate against a certain section of society. This decision is unlawful and only incites the hatred against us, therefore it is not legitimate. Yes, as the Governorship decision states we do have a security problem, yet the reason for this problem is none other than the Governorship and the police forces attacking our march, which our democratic right, every year. This decision has shown just how important Pride March is for us LGBTI+ individuals, trying to live in spite of the hatred directed towards us. This march takes place against [a backdrop of] the very violence and discrimination that the governorship’s decision further incites.

We announce to the public and press that  we will carry out our Pride March with the same determination as we have done for the last twenty six years and we would like to remind all that each lubunya [queer person] is a Pride March. “

Istanbul Pride Week 2018 Event Schedule

Table of Contents

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6th Izmir Pride March: Firmly, with determination and enthusiastically!

Hundreds of people were in Izmir for the sixth Pride March: for our rights and our loves!

Source: Gozde Demirbilek, “6. İzmir Onur Yürüyüşü: İnatla, kararlılıkla ve coşkuyla!”, Kaos GL, June 11, 2018,http://kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=26000

The sixth Pride March took place yesterday in Izmir with the participation of hundreds of people. LGTBI+ painted the streets of Alsancak with the colors of the rainbow for their rights, their identities and their loves. Flags and emblems of rainbows, bisexual, trans, intersex and asexual [people] were waved at the site.

The march started from the OSYM building the march went on to Kıbrıs Sehitleri Street. The press briefing by the Izmir Pride March Committee took place in front of the Türkan Saylan Cultural Center, just as in previous years.

“Once more and yet again we are marching; firmly, with determination and enthusiastically! We are not marching alone but all together! We will march today in spite of anyone who tries to take away our rights, our freedom, our feelings, our desires, our loves by calling our existence a sin, a crime or an illness. Those who do not fit into norms, those who don’t think they deserve to be loved, those who think there is something wrong with them… Today is the day to be who you are as you were. With this march each of us are beautiful in our uniqueness and even more beautiful together…”

“Don’t be ashamed and sad because you do not fit into gender norms and you do not desire who you are expected to desire! You are not to be blamed; those who hate you are to be blamed! You are not alone, don’t be afraid! Today we are gonna march trembling over fear; we are gonna walk over the pain and march inspire of the violence, the gate and the discrimination and destroy all of them. We are going to walk to a more beautiful world by walking under the rainbow.”

“Dear sister on the street, today we will be the sound of your high-heels. The lubunya (queers) in the suburbs: we will be your flower shirt! Those who are “inside”; we will raise our voice for you outside. Those of you who can’t be with us, we will shout out for what you’ve got piled up inside you. Those of you who are forcibly displaced; Welcome on board, in this march there is a spot for all of you! Those of you who are not with the living, we will shine the light of your souls. For those of you who survived, we will console each other!”

“Those of you who are discriminated against because of their sexual interests and identities; those of you who are discriminated against at school, home or work, in enlistment, camps, prisons… even though you are not with us today, we didn’t forget about you. We recognize each other by our wounds; we will be “you” today and march today; we will become each other’s voice and unite in marching for our rights and freedom.”

“We know how to march on no matter what gets in our way and even if we fall we know how to keep going by holding on to each other, by assisting and embracing one another and by never ever leaving the other alone. We march with pride!”

After the press briefing the march went on to Kordon. The march proceeded enthusiastically and affectionately. After a brief rest the fun continued with the After-Pride Party and Dudakların Cengi.