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25th İstanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week has taken start with the “#AramızdeNeVar” theme.
On the first day of the week, the court has ordered acquittal of the 11 activists who were detained on charge of “Opposing to Law on Demonstrations and Rallies” in last year’s Pride Parade.
The week that will host many free activities including panels, forums, workshops and theater plays will be organized on June 25 and will end with 15th İstanbul LGBTI Pride Parade.
Click for the program of 25th İstanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week
The Pride Week Committee explains the theme as follows:
Turkish Language Association defines “distance” as “the farness that separates two things”. But does distance only separate things, aren’t there any examples in which it brings things together? The loves that we hold on so dearly, our hands, our touch and our longing for each other are lined up through that distance. The power that we get from sharing, standing in solitude, being together despite all things seeming hopeless and desperate stands there. Our courage to own the words used for hurting us, the greatest proof that we still stand, and our joy and laughter echoing in the most remote parts of the city are also there. There are our bodies tall, short, fat, thin, in various shapes, various images, various tastes which we sometimes cannot define, sometimes transcends all the definitions there are yet which breath, orgasm, walk, live, exist. We are that “distance”, we share that “distance”.
In that “distance” we have been subjected the same oppressions as well. First, there is the government trying to take down our associations and, for the last two years, attacking our march. In the distance between us and the government, there is the sexist, patriarchal law which refrains from catching the murderers of Hande Kader and Ahmet Yıldız. In the distance between us and the city there are the power which incarcerates us into ghettos and which shapes the city, the gentrification which takes our homes and neighborhoods away from us; and in the distance between us and the streets there are some paramilitary groups who summons an attack onto our marches and are supported openly by the government and the unfair law.
On top of that, there is a giant polarization which leads the people to intolerance, ostricising the one who is not like the majority. This culture is now so deeply rooted, so strong, so well-established that it sneaks its way even into our circles of solidarity, affects our combat spaces. What is in that distance between us that divides, separates, angers us so much?
In such an age where solidarity is essential more than ever before, we think we should discuss the things that divide us and bring us together. In spite of all the oppression that we faced, there are gorgeous things in that distance which helps us exist in this city, this country, this society. To resist the despair that we live in and the inertia that we drift into, we suggest to hold onto each other.
About İstanbul Pride Parade
Being organized for the first time in 1993 under the name of “Sexual Freedom”, the week, its events and Pride Parade were banned by the governorship; activists were detained and the guest from abroad were deported. The pride week has confronted prohibitions in the later years as well but events have continued to be organized.
First İstanbul Pride Parade was held in 2003, which is 10 years after when the Pride Week started to be organized. The first parade held with 20-30 people has grown in time. In 2013, as many as 100,000 people joined the march on İstiklal Street.
In 2015 and 2016, the Pride Parades met with police interventions. However, being persistent, the LGBTI+ movement “dispersed” to first whole İstiklal Street and then to various places in İstanbul. (ÇT/TK)
* What is between us
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