The 20th Istanbul Pride Week ended on Monday with thousands of LGBTs (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals) and their supporters parading through Istiklal Avenue. The parade marked the largest of its kind in the city since its inception a decade ago.
The 20th Istanbul Pride Week drew to a finale on Monday with thousands of LGBTs (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals) parading through Istiklal Avenue. The demonstrators marched from Istanbul's Taksim Square toward the district of Tünel, marking the largest parade since the event first kicked off a decade ago.
A host of LGBT organizations, feminists, the Labor Movement Party (EHP,) the Socialist EBT (Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual) Movement, the LISTAG (Families of LGBTs in Istanbul) as well as the Keskesor Group hailing from the southeastern province of Diyarbakır all participated in the event, while Sırrı Süreyya Önder, a deputy of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP,) also marched behind a LISTAG banner.
The demonstrators chanted various slogans: "Where is (PM) Tayyip, faggots are here!" "To life, in spite of fascism," "Queer referee, we love you" (in reference to a football match slogan,) "The world would turn over, only if faggots were free," "Parliament, TCK (Turkish Penal Code,) quit discriminating!" "Leg upon shoulder against fascism!" "İdris should be able to love Naim and Naim Şahin" (in reference to Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin,) "Love, love, liberty; back off animosity," "At school, office and Parliament, gays are omnipresent," "Like it or not, gays are everywhere," "Even though we are queer, get used to it, we're at every corner."
"Plenty of pain, massacres and spleen in our memory"
"The number of [demonstrators] who participated in the Pride Parade to support the LGBT's struggle for rights and freedoms have soared from 25 to 10,000s. [Officials] raided the homes of those who tried to organize a Pride Week 20 years ago, deported participants from abroad, and detentions followed. We tinkered with our memory this year to understand what happened since then and up till this day," said İdil Engindeniz Şahan, who read the press statement on behalf of the event's organizers.
"We saw plenty of pain, massacres and spleen contained in our memory, but there is also solidarity and love. On one hand, we remember our friends who were killed and harassed when we hear [the names of] Ülker, Sormagir, Eryaman and Maltepe. On the other hand, we take pride in the LGBT [organizations] we established in the [belief] that 'love is to organize,' and we see the gains we have achieved," she said.
The struggle is not yet over, however, Şahan added.
"There is no change in the state's heteronormative, masculine, molesting rhetoric with truncheons and hatred-sowing. To the contrary, conservatism is also coming through as a new addition," she said.
"A long road still lies before us. See you next year with fewer demands. We are missing one if you are not in," she added.
The LGBT demonstrators listed their demands as follows:
*We want constitutional guarantees for equality, as hate speech threatens our right to life. We demand the legislation of the 'hate law' so as to include sexual identities and sexual orientation.
*We do not want the police that round up transsexuals on the streets for promotion and harass gay and lesbian couples, their point system and the new truncheons they will use at every opportunity!
*Sex labor is labor and must be granted protection. Discrimation against individuals must come to an end during employment in order to abolish involuntary sex labor.
*We want the current procedures for sex change to be altered, as they depend upon the approval of a few people, declare the individual to be diseased and leads to a plethora of material and emotional difficulties. We also demand the abolition of the color scheme on identity cards. (ÇT)
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