Photos courtesy of All Out
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.
All Out interviews activists in Istanbul via Facebook Lives:
– Interview with Yasemin Öz, co-founder of Kaos GL. Video here
– interview with Neyir Zerey, LGBTI+ activist from Turkey. Video here
– Reading of the press release. Video here