There is somethin’ between us, for 25 years!: Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Begins!
As the saying goes, it all started with “a handful of people” and faced with bans and obstacles, but as it reaches its 25th anniversary, Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week brings thousands together. This time we question: “What is between us?”. In search for that “somethin’” throughout the week, there will be many free of charge events such as panels, forums, workshops and plays.
Organized by volunteers and held with the solidarity of all participants, 25th IStanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week events will take place in various venues with the theme “What’s in that distance between us?” between 19-25 of June. The week will end with the Pride March on the 25th of June.
Celebrated throughout the world during June with various events and marches, the Pride month was celebrated in Izmir, Mersin, Antep and Kocaeli in Turkey. Istanbul Pride Week will begin with the joy of these events and marches held in these cities.
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.
Happy 25th Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week!