Pride Week

Istanbul Pride Week 2018 Event Schedule

Table of Contents


2017 Istanbul Pride Week Schedule is Announced!

2017 Istanbul Pride Week starts on June 19. You can find more information on panels, film screenings and special events that will take place during the Pride Week on this website:

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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











24th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Event Schedule

(Did you know that Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week has accounts on Facebook and Twitter?)

Please check back for news events as well as possible time and venue updates here and on Istanbul Pride’s official website.

We Unite

Table of Contents

Monday, June 20

Workshop: Self-defense against homo-transphobic assaults

  • Time: 14:00-16:00
  • Place: Infial

As LGBTI+ individuals, we must be on constant alert against the
mechanisms and means of social violence we encounter at any moment in
our social and individual lives and we must develop our self-defense.
Self-defense requires mental and physical practical effort to swiftly
and effectively fight the oppressive apparatus that directs its violence
to us. First, at an individual level, we must empower ourselves by
discovering and working on techniques that enable us to stand tall in
the face of assaults and to thwart them. Then we can generalize/broaden
our self-defense by sharing our strength, experience and skills with
others around us.

Panel: Conscientious Objection as an Act of Protest

  • Time: 15:00-17:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Moderator: İrem Az


Ercan Jan Aktaş: “Rejecting being men in a society that does not
consider those who do not serve in the military men”

Men’s conscientious objection demands challenge not only the political
and ideological strategies of nation-states forcing them to use violence
but also the masculine violence pervasive in male dominant domains such
as the Market and the Family. Compulsory military service is not only
about “national defense” but it is also a practice that regulates the
terms of citizenship between men, women and the state. First class
citizenship is bestowed on men through military service, “the most
sacred duty”.

Gökhan Soysal: “Legal Aspects of Conscientious Objection”

Conscientious objection is a human right placed under protection by
international human rights organizations and regarded in the context of
anti-war moral values, religious liberty and freedom of conscience. Both
the agreements undersigned by the Turkish State and particularly, the
decisions of the European Human Rights Court are binding. No matter how
reluctant the state is to recognize this right, it is also evident that
it is unable to fully resort to its repressive apparatus unlike in the
past. This situation will be assessed in the paper.

Emre Özyetiş: “Pink Conscientious Objection”

The LGBTI movement has a special position within Turkey’s opposition
networks in terms of the autonomous space for oppositional struggle it
has opened up. On the other hand, the increasing violence of clashes and
war, especially since the 7 June 2015 elections, necessitates the need
to review the gains we assume to have made in the experience of social
opposition and struggle. The discourse of the ruling party that is
becoming widespread as Turkey gets pulled into a period of war is
militarizing society in a speed we could not imagine and has nearly made
the struggle against this imposed oppressive and authoritative structure
non-functional. Within this context, what does it mean for LGBTI
individuals whose relationship with the military is seen via the “pink
discharge paper” to fight against the tools of domination by the
existing sovereign structure and war?

Workshop: Debating Sexual Violence in Lubunca

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Feminist Mekan

Those who resist the trauma experienced in the wake of sexual violence,
those who have been subject to sexual violence, those who have witnessed
a form of sexual violence…We need a language that we can all use and
that can empower us. Do LGBTI+ individuals use concepts of sexual
violence in Lubunca (queer dialect/argot used in Turkey)? Does our sex
positive language allow us to express ourselves when we have been
subjected to sexual violence? We do not know how to address people who
have been subjected to sexual violence and have resisted it? These
questions have created the need to debate sexual violence at a
conceptual level. Let’s talk!

Association to Combat Sexual Violence

1.1.4 Film Screening: “Mutantes: Punk Porn Feminism”

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Documentary – 2009 – France 85′ Director: Virginie Despentes

Mutantes: Punk Porn Feminism is the culmination of meetings with queer
academics, theorists, and activists in the United States, France, and
Spain as well as the archival documents of the sex worker “women”
movement and a new kind of political performance acts. The documentary
draws the lines of a feminism that demands “complete sexual freedom”
born out of the “pro-sex” feminist movement in the 80s in America.

Panel: University LGBTI+ Meeting and Cocktail

  • Time: 19:00-21:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Presentation: Görkem Ulumeriç

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week, LGBTI+ student clubs are proud to invite
LGBTI+ students to a presentation about gender-neutral bathrooms,
dormitories and dressing rooms, peer bullying, safe spaces and campus
activism. The presentation will be followed by a cocktail. Participation
is limited to university students. Please register at
[email protected]


  • Time: 20:00
  • Place: Piri Çavuş Sokak, Kadıköy (Piri Çavuş Street, Kadıköy)

We who have a problem with heteronormativity are meeting in Kadikoy on
Monday evening. We are meeting in defiance of those who want to imprison
us in our homes, the dominators who think they own the streets as well
as life, those who say “do it, but do it at home out of sight”, and to
many others. We are dancing and having fun, not afraid of being alone,
not anxious, but feeling empowered!

Workshop: “Concepts of Intimacy and Sincerity” in the Context

of “Queer Body” Studies (I)

  • Time: 20:00-22:30
  • Place: Çatı Dans

Facilitator: Ufuk Şenel

This workshop, scheduled for approximately three hours a day on two
days, is an exploration focusing on the body through the concepts of
intimacy and sincerity. What does queerness provide to us as we relate
to each other, to the world and to others? How do our feelings of
intimacy and sincerity get constructed/ deconstructed within a queer
life? These are some of the questions we will pursue in this workshop
where the goal is to begin from improvised practices and to help
participants gain a new perspective and dynamic on how they relate to
their own world, selves, the world and others.

Tuesday, June 21

Workshop: Consensus as a Form of Organizing and

Decision-Making Process Among Equals

  • Time: 15:00-18:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

In meetings among equals decisions are made with the shared
responsibility of all participants, therefore it is important how
decisions are made and implemented and that all participate equally in
the decision-making process for groups engaged in rights struggles. As a
form of decision-making, the consensus decision-making model aims at the
equal participation of all participants, the equal distribution of power
within the group, the productive and optimal use of time and other
resources. In this Pride Week, we would like to explore CONSENSUS as a
model that enables more productive meetings and decisions on the context
of our theme “We Unite”.

Note: The workshop is open to all, whether they are activists or not.
The workshop will last at least 3 hours (Center of Nonviolence)

Workshop: Mask Workshop (I), Mask & March

  • Time: 17:00
  • Place: TAK

We are inviting all to our workshop to paint in colors not only the
streets and the squares, but also our bodies, and to make masks which we
will wear not in order to hide ourselves, but to be visible and to use
our freedom of expression.

Materials provided: Cardboard, paper, textile materials, scrap
materials, acrylic paint and coloring materials, glue.

Participants can bring their own additional scrap materials, visual
materials and prints for collage techniques. The activity will last 12
hours over two days.

Facilitator: Oğuz Güdek

Note: Participation is limited to 30 people. Please register at
[email protected]

Panel: Why the LGBTI+ Peace Initiative

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

The basis of Life: Oxygen and Peace!

The critical importance of peace is more evident in these days we are
going through. We have gathered together as organized and unorganized
LGBTI+ activists to shout out this need everywhere. We want to discuss
together why we exist and the path we have traveled in this process and
what more we can do. We will be stronger if you join us.

Moderator: Esra Ferit

Speakers: İrem Güven, Zelal Demir, Cihan Erdal

Workshop: The Queer’s Nightlife Test

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: LeylaAlt

When did the şemmamme (folk dance) enter our nightlife and party
entertainment? Why do we love to dance the halay (folkloric line dance)
so much? How are queers lying on the ground singing “Only God and I
know” made to belly dance? Our musical tastes from Tiësto to Bergen?
What did we like about our favorite party? The music? The space? Or else
the opportunity to find a hook up? What does the LGBT-friendly concept
express for us? Are we using the spaces or are they using us?
Nots and Şevval discuss LGBTI+ entertainment life.

Workshop: Pink Tezkere

  • Time: 18:30-20:30
  • Place: SALT Galata

Those who are deemed men are called by the authorities to do compulsory
military service in Turkey when the time comes. Yet it is our right not
to fulfill this service! There is a legal procedure for pink tezkere
(military discharge paper)! Can I get a pink discharge paper? What
procedure should I follow to acquire pink discharge paper? What aspects
should I pay attention to in the process? How does a pink discharge
paper affect my social and work life? Come join our workshop to
collectively reflect on these questions!

Reader’s Theater: OGRES

  • Time: 19:15
  • Place: Fransız Kültür Merkezi (French Cultural Center)

Author: Yann Verburgh

Director: biriken (Melis Tezkan, Okan Urun)

As part of Pride Week, “biriken” Collective is performing Yann
Verburgh’s Ogres as a reader’s theater at the French Cultural Center.
The play traces the story of Benjamin who is tortured in a forest in
Normandy and left to die while simultaneously juxtaposing the
perspectives of victims, attackers, families and witnesses of
intolerable violence in 14 different countries. The only thing that
cannot be buried and destroyed under the bodies of the wounded in the
midst of violence, torture, incoherence are the love, hope and courage
of these characters across the world. The performance will be followed
by a conversation with the play’s author Yann Verburgh.

Actors: Alican Yücesoy, Canan Atalay, Defne Halman, Halil Babür, Okan

Pre-registration is required for events at the French Cultural Center.
To register, visit:

Workshop: The role and responsibility of mental health care

workers in social interaction in the aftermath of the removal of
homosexuality from the category of disease

  • Time: 19:30-21:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Homosexuality was removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders in 1973 and from the disease criteria of the World
Health Organization on May 17, 1990. The confusion persists, however, in
the case of transsexuality. Despite the fact that the discourse of cure
was gradually abandoned from late 1960s onwards, and homosexuality is
officially no longer a disease since 1973, transsexuality continues to
be associated with disease, sin and crime in social perception and life.
Today the struggle continues against the intense discrimination, hate
speech and hate crimes targeting LGBTI+ people. Most importantly,
although without an official basis, some mental health workers are
seeking to exploit the cure discourse for profit. Therefore during this
Pride Week, we would like to explore how we can intervene as mental
health care students and workers not only in society but also
specifically in the field of mental health and our responsibilities.

Moderators: Evren Evrim Önal, Özge Güdül

Speakers: Eser Sandıkçı, Pınar Önen, Seven Kaptan, Umut Şah

Workshop: “Concepts of Intimacy and Sincerity” in the context


  • Time: 20:00-22:30
  • Place: Çatı (The Roof)

Workshop: Finding Hook-ups

  • Time: 21:00-22:00
  • Place: Will be announced via email

The activity which we first organized last year is back this year due to
koli (hook-up, casual sexual partner in Lubunca) intensity. More daring,
more closed and more with koli.
We texted “SLM” (“Hey”) through the app we use to find a partner we
like. Okay, what next? How to prepare until they arrive? Where to go for
coffee? How to invite them home? All and more will be found in this
practical workshop. Participation is limited, please register at
[email protected] if you wish to participate. Location will be
announced via email to participants.

Wednesday, June 22

Workshop: Physical Deepening: What Kind of Geography Is My


  • Time: 15:00-17:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

Workshop Leader: Gizem Aksu

This workshop invites participants on a tour of their own body geography
with the question “What kind of geography is my body?” If this geography
is not expected to be free from prejudice and self-judgment, could it be
possible to witness that which emerges from each layer that begin to
appear with deep listening and sensing, and escape from meaning to reach
the moment? It is a discovery extending from the daily repertoire of
feelings to the traces of aging flesh…You are invited to dive into the
abundance of body geography, in which all of life’s states are handled,
and the unique and authentic geography of every body.

Panel: Vegan Action- Justice for Animals

  • Time: 16:00 – 18:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Speakers: Özlem Dede, Arvid Bager

As Vegan Action, we want to explain speciesism during the 24th LGBTI+
Pride Week. Hegemonic relationships are not just among humans but also
among species. How aware are we of the rights of animals in our
human-centered lives? We defend the rights of LGBTI+, women, and people
with disabilities. We defend air rights and water rights. Who should be
defending the rights of other living beings? We want justice for all.

Workshop: Mask Workshop (II)

  • Time: 17:00
  • Place: TAK

Panel: Trans Transition Process

  • Time: 17:00 – 19:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

Moderator: Asım Ada

Speakers: Esmeray, Berk, Sinem Hun

We listen to the steps of the trans transition process, the difficulties
of the procedures in the transition, the legal aspects of the medical
process, use of hormones, and surgeries from two different voices.

Panel: Sex Work

  • Time: 18:30-21:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Sex work is one of those topics about which very little is known in
Turkey. Nevertheless everyone apart from sex workers make arguments
about it. A collaboration between Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week and Red
Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association opens to discussion
the general rights situation, experiences, and needs of sex workers in
Turkey. We invite everyone to solidarity with sex workers. Come, let’s
talk about our problems together.

Moderator: Begüm Başdaş, Amnesty International Turkey Branch


  • Kemal Ördek, “The Struggle for Rights from Prostitution to Sex Work
    and the Current Situation”
  • Dr. Gökhan Yıldırımkaya, “The Sexual and Reproductive Health Status
    of Sex Workers”
  • Özge Gökpınar, “Representation of Sex Workers in the Media”
  • Derya Karagöz, “Violence Against Trans Women Sex Workers:
  • Niler Albayrak, “Informal Sex Work and Experiences in Entering the
  • Sevgi, “Life in a Brothel Through the Eyes of a Brothel Worker”
  • Mehmet, “Brothels and Needs Through the Eyes of a Brothel Boss”
  • Alper Rheme, “Being a male sex worker: questions and recommendations”
  • Yağmur Arıcan, “Discussions of Sex Work Politics”

Film Screening: Veşartî/Secret*

  • Time: 19:00
  • Place: Pera Müzesi Oditoryumu (Pera Museum Auditorium)

Turkey – 2015 – 70′ Director: Ali Kemal Çınar

One day a woman (Aram) tells Ali Kemal that Ali Kemal will turn into a
woman at the age of 30 and walks away. Ali Kemal is about to turn 30 and
will get married soon after. As Ali Kemal tries to adapt to the idea of
transformation, the protagonist also tries to find ways to continue the
relationship with Berfin.
There will be a Q & A after the screening.

Launch: Refugee LGBTI+ Book Launch + Cocktail

  • Time:19:00-21:00
  • Place: Nazım Hikmet Kültür ve Sanat Evi (Nazım Hikmet Culture and
    Arts House)

Hêvî LGBTI Association has prepared Refugee LGBTI+ as a result of their
work and interviews with LGBTI+ refugees to show rights violations and
put public pressure. The book includes interviews with refugees who
define themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual or Transgender
as well as recommendations by experts, legal background, and articles to
expose problems. We will find the chance the get together at the launch
of Refugee LGBTI+ and get to know and evaluate this new book.

Workshop: Food Not Bombs Istanbul: The Tyranny of Love II

  • Time: 19:00-21:00
  • Place: İnfial

Following a first forum during Pride Week 2015, this year’s second
workshop will focus on jealousy and possessiveness, which are among the
forms of tyranny; as an alternative to monogamous, heteronormative
relationship forms, communal living, polyamory, and open relationships
will find a voice. The “Turkish family structure” is holding the state
up, let’s not shy away from shaking it up.

Performance + Party: Play Night

  • Time: 21:00
  • Place: To be announced via email

We are inviting those interested in queer BDSM to a night of interactive
games and performances that will change our perception towards sexuality
and the body, and open the doors to a world outside the norm. Don your
fetishes and don’t hold back from coming. Attendance is limited to 20
people; those who do not register will not be admitted. For registration
email [email protected].

Thursday, June 23

Panel: Homophobia in Sports and Physical Education Classes

  • Time: 14:00-16:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

Have the LGBTI+ individuals who have come out in many branches of sports
in recent times helped defeat homophobia, transphobia, and sexism in
sports? What kind of sexual orientation-based discrimination is there in
physical education classes? Where are the intersections of the
discrimination we encounter in sports and at school? Starting with a
discussion of the discrimination experienced in sports, in which we seek
answers to all our questions and will exchange information about, we
would like to talk about the discrimination faced by gay and trans
students in physical education classes and discuss solutions together.
(High School LGBTI+)

Moderator: Emre Demir

Speakers: Dr. İlknur Hacısoftaoğlu (Gedik University), Melisa Yıldırım
(Ankara High School LGBTI), Baran Ucal (Gedik University)

Film Screening: The Pink Report

  • Time: 16:00
  • Place: Pera Müzesi Oditoryumu (Pera Museum Auditorium)

Germany – 2011 – 75′ Director: Ulrike Böhnisch

The Turkish Armed Forces defines homosexuality as a mental disorder that
exempts young men from compulsory military service. It requires
psychological and humiliating methods to medically diagnose. This film
tells the very personal stories of several gay men who chose different
paths regarding the military. The young men are forced to hide their
faces because of the lack in freedom of expression as they reveal one of
Turkey’s biggest taboos due.

Workshop: “That Type” of Feminism

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Facilitators: Gizem Aslan, Nazlı Cabadağ

The LGBTI+ movements test with feminism; What does the feminist movement
contribute to us, what do we contribute to feminism? Furthermore, what
does our feminism look like? We invite you to our forum to discuss what
this mutual relationship has achieved for us and its promised potential.

Note: Participation is closed to cisgendered men.

Event: Mass HIV Testing Day

  • Time: 18:30
  • Place: Şişli Belediyesi Merkez Poliklinik (Sisli Municipality Central

Sometimes because we’re scared and sometimes because we don’t care
enough, we neglect getting tested. By saying that no one has to be alone
in this process, we’re inviting everyone to get a free, anonymous test
done with us. Let’s meet at 18:00 at the Pangaltı Dolapdere exit of the
Osmanbey Metro Station across from Ramada Hotel.

Genetically Modified Tomato Award Ceremony

  • Time: 19:30-21:30
  • Place: Şişli Kent Kültür Merkezi (Sisli Urban Cultural Center)

The Genetically Modified Tomato Awards, Istanbul Pride Week’s
indispensable event, takes place for the 12th time this year. Candidates
who have competed with each other all year long in homophobia,
transphobia, and biphobia are voted for throughout Pride Week; the
winners are announced at the awards night! Everyone is invited to throw

Friday, June 24

Workshop: Tactics of Making Love without Fear: Safe Sexuality

  • Time: 14:00-16:00
  • Place: Feminist Mekan

Are you sure you put a condom on the right way? Do you know how to share
your toys? How do you have safe oral sex? And did you know that you can
get exposed to infection while practicing personal hygiene? Many things
you know to be right can be wrong!

We will talk about the ways to be sexual without harming our health, in
order to make love men to men, women to women, without fear. We will ask
our questions and discuss with experts from Turkey Family Health and
Planning Foundation, without hesitation.

Panel + Forum: LGBTI+ Refugees: Process, Advent, Solidarity

  • Time: 15:00-17:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

In the year 2016, Turkey has become the country with the most refugees
in the world as it hosts over 3 million refugees from different
countries, especially from Syria. As countries like Turkey, Lebanon and
Jordan are left on their own with a number of refugees that surpass the
size of the country, the European Union, United States and other
developed countries are trying to fortify their boundaries, on the
grounds of security. LGBTI+ refugees experience a double difficulty as
refugees and as LGBTI+s, since their paths are blocked not only by
forced displacement but also by increasing conservatism. In relation to
the theme of this year’s pride week, through experiences in Turkey and
Sweden, we will talk about the legal, social and psychological
dimensions of being LGBTI+ and being a refugee and discuss the
possibilities for our struggle together.

Moderator: Özlem Çolak (Lambdaistanbul)


  • Hayriye Kara (Kaos GL): Legal framework in Turkey regarding the
  • Mehmet Akın (SPoD): Is Turkey a “safe country” for refugees?
  • Cihan Arıkan (RFSL Sweden): What do the refugees experience in the
    countries they were settled in?

Testimonies from Refugees:

  • Hussam Slk and other refugee friends from the Arabic Tea & Talk group
    will talk about their experiences in their countries, in Turkey and
    about their work.
  • Can Kaya and Müzeyyen Arac (Hevi LGBTI): Book Presentation
  • Hevi LGBTI will talk about the book composed of testimonies of LGBTI
    refugees living in Turkey and about how the book came to be.

Conversation: Bear Movement in Turkey, Yesterday, Today and

the Future

  • Time: 15:30-17:30
  • Place: Hevi Lgbti Association

Panel: Being LGBTI+ Under Occupation

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Being an LGBTI+ individual in geographies under siege and occupation
does not only involve a fight of sexuality and desire against patriarchy
and heteronormativity but also other fights based on race and ethnicity
as used by the state and colonizer. The panel will focus on the
intersection of power and violence and seek to answer these questions:
What does it mean to be LGBTI+ in Kurdistan and Palestine? What does the
LGBTI+ struggle mean in these geographies where violence is experienced
in all of its nakedness?

Moderator: Aslı Zengin


  • Okan (Keskesor): Kurdistan Experience
  • Zerşin (Keskesor): Kurdistan Experience
  • Siyabend (Kadıköy LGBTI Council): Personal Experience in the Nusaybin
  • Joul Elias (Al-Qaws): Palestine Experience

Forum: LGBTI+ Organizations of Turkey Meeting

  • Time: 17:00-19:00
  • Place: SALT Galata

What are the local dynamics of the LGBTI+ movement that keeps growing in
scope and in activity in Turkey? What are the experiences of the
organizations and how do they devise practices of struggle in different
manners? What was the agenda for the LGBTI+ movement in Turkey in 2016?
How is the opposition in the streets going? What are the elements that
make the local “local”? We will look for answers to these and related
questions as we intend to grow our struggle by developing a wider
perspective on the scope of the LGBTI+ movement in Turkey, by creating a
dynamic discussion with the representatives of local organizations. Come
and join this process of making sense and discussing!

Panel: Forming a Psychosocial Solidarity Network for LGBTI+s

  • Time: 18:30-20:30
  • Place: SALT Galata

Facilitators: Aylin Ülkümen, Baran Gürsel, Doğa Eroğlu, Özlem Çolak

TODAP, a professional organization that also supports the social
struggles given against the problems LGBTI+ individuals experience,
seeks ways to multiply safe and accessible mechanisms of psychological

In this session we will take off from the experiences of different
psychosocial support networks and talk with the participants about
whether there is a need for a psychological support network for LGBTI+s,
and if there is, how that network could be formed, how the institutions
in this field could collaborate, what the principles and methods of this
network could be. We hope the resulting ideas will be the first steps
for the formation of a network that will provide support for LGBTI+s.

Forum: We Unite!

  • Time: 19:00-21:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)
  • LGBTI+ Pride Week’s theme is “We Unite!”, we will get together as all
    Istanbul-based LGBTI+ associations, LGBTI+ branches of unions and
    political parties, LGBTI+ student clubs and independent activists to
    talk about the situation of organizing together, alternative methods
    of organizing, what we currently do and what we can do in the face of
    the growing difficulties of even going out on the streets as we
    experience these days.

Film Screening: #direnayol

  • Time: 20:00
  • Place: Pera Müzesi Oditoryumu (Pera Museum Auditorium)

Germany- Turkey- 2016- 60′ Director: Rüzgâr Buşki

#direnayol follows trans activist Şevval Kılıç who is infected by the
joy of the Gezi Resistance and the 21st Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week.
#direnayol is a lawless visual and auditory journey to witness the wave
of hope, humor, and solidarity that we now need to remember in the
current day politics of Turkey.

There will be a Q&A after the screening.

Dinner: Rainbow Feast

  • Time: 20:49
  • Place: Maçka Park

Come and bring your iftar meal with you, to prepare a feast where no one
others another, where diversity is our wealth, where property is shared,
to show that we can build a life based on equality-justice and freedom,
no matter what language you speak or which race you are, without saying
heterosexual vs gay, believer vs nonbeliever, embracing all and building
a vegan meal together that does not reproduce the hierarchy between


  • Time: 21:00
  • Place: Depo Taksim

PARTY: Safe Sex

  • Time: 22:00
  • Place: COOP

Pride Week, remembered for its pregame parties, is back with its famous
Friday parties. Don’t forget to ask for your condom!

Saturday, June 25

Panel: Organizing for LGBTI Rights in Politics

  • Time: 12:00 – 14:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Speakers: Robert Hannah (Member of Parliament in Sweden), Terry Reintke
(Member of the European Parliament), Sedef Çakmak (Member of the
Besiktas Municipal Assembly)

This panel will explore how LGBTIs organize in politics, the language of
politics and how politics transforms itself. The panel will be with
Sedef Çakmak who was elected after SPoD’s “LGBTI-Friendly
Municipalities” campaign during the 2014 Local Elections, Robert Hannah
who has made important gains as a young MP in Sweden, and Terry Reintke
who is among the youngest members of the European Parliament.

1.6.2 Workshop: Hand-made Dildo

  • Time: 13:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Facilitator: Deniz Dilan

Wet it, squeeze it, roll it, pucker it, twist it, rub it, embrace it,
paint it! This is an almost ecologic, creative in size and color
dildo-making workshop for you, your lover, your neighbor.

Materials: Toilet paper for the dildo (if it’s not a huge one, 1 roll of
toilet paper yields 2-3 dildos), water, water-colors, glitter, nail
polish, other make-up materials, packaging tape, and if for use,

Picnic + Workshop: Sign Language + Workshop: Flirt Zone

  • Time: 15:00 – 20:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Once again this year, we invite you all to join a boisterous picnic on
the greenest of the green grass, under the trees. Sign language workshop
will be open to all attendees during the picnic. Workshops, games and
much more at Maçka Park, underneath the rainbow.

Workshop: Sign Language

  • Time: 15:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Facilitators: Kaan Göncü, Ahmet Turan Yılmaz

This Sign Language workshop organized by SPoD’s LGBTI with Disabilities
working group is open to all who want to understand deaf and
hard-of-hearing individuals in their own language, to discover sign
language, and to give moral support to our work with new thoughts.

Workshop: Armenian Folk Dance

  • Time: 15:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Facilitator: Kyle Khandakian

Kyle Khandakian was kicked out of an Armenian Folk Dance class that he
attended for 5 months in Armenia because he is gay. We will learn the
Armenian Folk Dance shoulder to shoulder despite homophobia, fascism,
sexism, and even closed borders.

Workshop: Flirt Zone

  • Time: 15:00
  • Place: Maçka Parkı (Maçka Park)

Facilitators: Derya Akişli, Pınar Karabağ

Is flirting a fruit or a vegetable? How do you want your flirt? What we
know and what we desire is not enough. Are the feelings of Insecurity,
taboo, embarrassment, and fear that trick us really ours? Let’s talk
about flirting styles, spaces, and experiences.
Note: Participation is closed to cisgendered men.

Panel: Being LGBTI+ in Diaspora and Spaces for Organizing

  • Time: 16:00 – 18:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)

Moderator: Sertan Kıyan


  • Kyle Khadakian, “The Armenian Community in the US and Experiences of
    Homophobia and Organizing in Armenia”
  • Robert Hannah, “Experiences of Organizing in the Swedish Assyrian

Sweden leads the world charts as an example of human rights and gender
equality. So how is being Assyrian and LGBTI+ viewed in Sweden? What
kinds of problems does one face when organizing and asking for votes as
a parliamentarian? What does one prepare for when voted into parliament
as an openly gay man? We will talk about what to face, what the
advantages and disadvantages are.

Short Films Screening

  • Time: 18:00
  • Place: Cezayir Toplantı Salonu (Cezayir Meeting Room)
  • Kurneqîz/Trans WomanDirector: Gökhan ve Nadide Seza Yalçınkaya“Kurdish short film about a 17 year old trans child who goes through
    an internal reckoning and ostracization in a rural village.”There will be a Q&A with the film crew after the screening.
  • Nerdesin Aşkım?/Where Are You My Love?Director: Merve GezenThe film that toured world festivals comes home with the “Human
    Rights Award” from Boston and “Best Film” from Canada. The first
    screening in Turkey will be at Istanbul LGBTI Pride.
    There will be a Q&A with the director Merve Gezen and actor Seyhan
    Arman after the screening.

Workshop: Drag King

  • Time: 20:00 – 22:00
  • Place: Çıplak Ayaklar (Çıplak Ayaklar Dance Studio)

Drag King is the performance of different roles of men and masculinity
with clothes, attitude, make up, etc. Playboy, drifter, intellectual,
tough guy, gentleman, man on a mission, revolutionary, closeted gay, big
shot, family man, tender…

Real or caricaturized; gender is a playground in this workshop. You can
perform stereotypes of men or you can reveal the masculine in you! We’ll
first study the book of manhood and practice wearing beards and
moustaches, walk, sit, etc. Then we’ll go party and play. The workshop
is open to women and trans individuals who want to experience

Note: Registration required. Please email [email protected]



  • Time: 19:00 – 21:00
  • Place: Taksim Spor Kulübü (Taksim Sports Club)

There is no swearing at women, sluts, fags. There is no being used by
the industry and mafia club owners. No excuse for violence by rowdy
hooligans. Despite the patriarchy and heterosexism of the soccer field,
established and distinguished (!) queer teams of the queer football
community (?!) Atletik Dildoa, Sportif Lezbon, Lezyonerler and Queer
Park Rangers are getting together for a fun, communal tournament (!!!)
People who want to experience the fun of scoring and getting scored, the
intersection of dribbles, can email us at [email protected] and
become a player in the 4th team called Queer Training Boarding School.
Come, let’s meet offside.


  • Time: 21:00
  • Place: Depo Taksim


  • Time: 22:00
  • Place: nayah

“Oriental” shows, curvy performances all night and we can’t get enough
of it!

All proceeds will go to solidarity with LGBTI+ refugees.

Sunday, June 26

Event: Bicycle Tour

  • Time: 15:00
  • Place: Beşiktaş İskele (Beşiktaş Ferry Stop)
  • Route: Beşiktaş – Kabataş – Karaköy – Tarlabaşı – Taksim –
    Istiklal Avenue

We meet at Besiktas Ferry Stop to pedal to Istiklal Avenue with our
Rainbow flags for the 24th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week.


  • Time: 17:00
  • Place: Istiklal Caddesi (Istiklal Avenue)

We are on Istiklal Avenue for the 14th time and with growing numbers!
We’re going to rock the streets with our slogans, fusing our joy and
love with our resistance, bedazzling the avenues with our rainbow flags.
We are way too few if you are not there!


  • Time: 21:00
  • Place: Depo Taksim

Entrance: Free (2 glasses of cocktail drinks sangria free of charge)

Party: Closing Party

  • Time: 22:00
  • Place: COOP

To celebrate our existence, our love, our desire, our pride, let’s meet
at the 24th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week closing party after coloring
Taksim in rainbows.

My pride story: I’m here and resisting, my love!

Until the earth becomes the face of love: “I’m here and resisting, my love!” [1]


Hakan’s Pride Story

As a lubunya [2] from Ankara who came out 3 years ago, 2015 Istanbul LGBTI Pride March was my first pride march. When I was a student I could not join because I had no money and later on because I had to work on weekends.

Can someone be assaulted in their first ever Pride March? Apparently, yes, one can.

On Friday, I left for Istanbul from Ankara on the high speed train. I felt both the excitement of Pride and the pride to be finally able to go to Pride. I had previously marched in my own city on May 17 [IDAHOT] and it was the time when I felt the dynamism of the LGBT movement intensely. I was fighting, I was transforming.

After I got off the train, my lover and his flatmate picked me up from Pendik. Yes, Pendik. You love the people picking you up even more, when they travel all that distance to Pendik. Then we caught up on all the fun of Pride Week. That same night we enjoyed ourselves in Tünel, we drank and danced. On Saturday we went to the picnic at Maçka and met lots of beautiful people there. We fell in jugs of beer on Mis Street, partied again, had fun again and kissed on the streets!

Resist Pride March!

Then that day arrived. On the morning of the march we had our breakfast and went to Taksim around 15:30. I shared the video “Mahsun, take me to Taksim” from the film “Tabutta Rövaşata” that morning. Because “I had to go” to Taksim. We saw the tension and the police check points. We considered the possibility for an assault. But we still entered Taksim with Hasan, holding hands. Although that day was the Pride March, those who saw us hand in hand looked twice at us. I thought to myself, “Visibility is a must in our heteronormative society”.

That’s when the resistance started. We could not go up to Taksim from the side streets. We had to drop our lollipop banners and get out. As soon as we got out, a TOMA [3] came from the direction of Taksim and cornered us on Mis Street with high pressure water. We got gassed on Mis Street. We first took refuge in nearby establishments. I can tell you the spirit of Mis Street was glorious. We were together with those who stood against the TOMAs and who resisted for hours.


We got gassed, resisted and stood against our assailants together. But I cannot deny that the most significant and the most romantic moments were when my lover sprayed Talcid [4] on my face as I got gassed. When it is so difficult even to come out, to come to a point where you can resist against the system and the assault with your lover on your side, it is a memory that makes me shiver to this day. It feels extremely good when you have someone worrying for you as you resist and when you both try to save each other from harm against the police.

Even though we ended our relationship two months after our resistance together, Hasan remains my biggest comrade in the path of resistance I have taken.

Until the Earth becomes the face of love: “I’m here and resisting, my love!”

Click here for the original Turkish version of this story on our project partner

Stories grow as we share. If you want to tell your Pride story, send your maximum 500 word story to [email protected] and we’ll publish it in Turkish and English on Kaos GL and LGBTI News Turkey. Don’t forget to add your name or pseudonym!


[1] A popular chant in Pride Istanbul goes: “Where are you my love? I’m here my love!”

[2] Lubunya refers to a gay or trans person in Lubunca, the LGBT slang spoken in Turkey.

[3] Intervention Vehicle to Social Events is the infamous water cannon vehicle used by the Turkish police.

[4] The lozenges used for stomach problems, they are also used for their anti-acid effect against the teargas.



My Pride Story: No descriptions!


Today in Pride stories: Free love is impossible to describe and the ecstasy of getting lost in her eyes…

Pragsidike’s Pride Story

I’m only twenty years old. I have never been able to understand what I was feeling, until today. I never believed in love. I love the cinema, I watched films about homosexuality, the ones which really capture you, I watched most of them with tears in my eyes. I know the cruelty they inflicted for years. Inequality, injustice were everywhere and evermore. People never got past beyond these silly reactions, they were unable to. Together, we will go beyond these…


Until today, I have always been interested in women, as much as I have been in men. I thought of my interest for women as a matter of emulation, of being inspired by other women. Up until three days ago. Imagine someone who thinks of herself as heterosexual and who does not believe in love, getting lost in a woman’s eyes. The excitement I felt, the tone of her voice, her smile. There is no way to describe how I felt. There shall be no descriptions, we shall love freely.

Click here for the original Turkish version of this story on our project partner

Stories grow as we share. If you want to tell your Pride story, send your maximum 500 word story to [email protected] and we’ll publish it in Turkish and English on Kaos GL and LGBTI News Turkey. Don’t forget to add your name or pseudonym!

My Pride Story: We carry flowers in our mouths!

We carry flowers in our mouths. Flowers that you will never be able to wither.

Orkoninya’s Pride Story

I had the chance to join the pride march on June 2015 for the first time in my life. Everything was planned weeks before the march and we departed Ankara with my boyfriend at the time and two other friends.

I remember shouting suddenly while listening to Bandista’s  “Aşk Şarkısı (Love Song) in the car:

“Look at that, a rainbow!” A giant, colorful parabola was greeting us. After seeing so many rainbows on our way, we realized that love was on our side, this day was our day.


The night we arrived in Istanbul, my excitement did not let me sleep. As thousands of people, we were going to shout, unite and paint Istiklal Avenue into the colors of the rainbow that we are. But the next day I could smell the tension in the air as we arrived on Istiklal Avenue. Hundreds of police officers were mocking us on every corner, turning their despising stares on us. Once more, it did not take them too long to target us with their barrels, filled with plastic hate. We ran away from TOMAs* spraying hatred and homophobia on us, some of our friends got hit, people were rushing about, covered in blood. We took refuge in a shop, the shutters were drawn and we started to wait. As everyone started to cough out the pepper spray, I remembered the gas chambers. We waited, we waited, we waited… I was struggling with a disease called panic attack back then. I was panting for breath, my eyes started to black out and I sat on the floor, coughing. I did not have the power to go on anyway. We went back home…

I had great dreams of this march, but it didn’t happen. I was happy anyway. There were so many of me there that day, they all filled me with hope. And the rainbow I mentioned, gave us such a salute that I realized our colors were plastic bullet-proof. As Mabel Matiz says in a song, we carry flowers in our mouths, and these are flowers that you can never wither away. We shall open our mouths for you to see, try to take a whiff. You will feel love. Love…
*Intervention Vehicle to Social Events is the infamous water cannon vehicle used by the Turkish police.

Click here for the original Turkish version of this story on our project partner

Stories grow as we share. If you want to tell your Pride story, send your maximum 500 word story to  and we’ll publish it in Turkish and English on Kaos GL and LGBTI News Turkey. Don’t forget to add your name or pseudonym!



Governor bans pride parade at the last minute; police attacks participants

The announcement by the 23. Istanbul LGBTI Pride Committee in response to a last minute ban against the pride parade is as follows:

The 13th Istanbul LGBTI Pride Parade scheduled to take place at 17:00 in Taksim has suddenly been banned by the Governorate, using the month of Ramadan as an excuse, without any announcement.

The police is attacking tens of thousands of people with pepper spray, plastic bullets and water cannons.

All entrances and exits to and from Taksim and Istiklal Street have been shut down.

We call on the Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin to adhere to the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, to immediately cease the attacks, and to make a public statement.

All Pride Parade participants are urged to remain in place and not leave Beyoglu until the walk can be started as planned.

People who believe in a free world but could not make it to Taksim: we invite you to make some noise with pots & pans or whatever you find, wherever you are, at 6pm.


Love wins!

#GelYanima #JoinUs

23. Istanbul LGBTI Pride Committee

Istanbul Pride Week 2015 Event Schedule

(In case you would like to print this page, please refer to this PDF version.)

(Did you know that Istanbul LGBTI Pride Week has accounts on Facebook or Twitter?)

Table of Contents


Open Call for 5th Pride Week Exhibition

Seçil Epik, “Ay Resmen Açık Çağrı (Ay, Open Call, Officially!), TimeOut Istanbul, April 2014,

As we count down to the 22nd Pride Week festivities, we received an invitation for an exhibition. For  this year’s Pride Week exhibition, first held in 2009,  the title  “Who Would Have Thought” and a concept of multiple exhibits on a particular parade route have been considered.  Seçil Epik spoke with Metin Akdemir and Efe Songun of the exhibition committee about the open invitation and the details of the exhibition.

Before we come to the 5th Pride Week Exhibition, shall we recall  the ones in the previous years?

Metin Akdemir:  The first exhibition was “Uprising and Pride” held in 2009 at Hafriyat to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. As you know, the Stonewall Riots, which broke out following a police raid in New York of a bar called Stonewall Inn, are viewed as the beginning of the open resistance of the LGBT movement. In the exhibition held in 2010,  the theme was “Family” and the works displayed examined and sought to expand the narrow meaning of the concept of Family. The title of the 2012 exhibition was “Oppression, Pleasure and the Body” and it was held in Cezayir. In this exhibition, works on display were concerned with the politics of the body which the system imposes on us.

Last year the Pride Week theme was “Resistance” and it was also influenced by the Gezi events. This year the theme has been decided as “the Big Explosion”.  We are announcing the title here for the first time. How did this title emerge?

MA:  It emerged with the question of “What did the LGBTI movement experience in the past and how, at this point, does it look to the future?” We thought this is the right time to explore this question. What will be the number of people in the parade which had reached 50,000 last year? Has the LGBT movement’s visibility really increased or is it a simulation? Does homophobia in society still exist? Has there really been a big explosion? We want to see all these.