Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week Principles

Istanbul LGBTI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex and all other romantic/sexual orientations and identities) Pride Week and March are non-profit, social solidarist events that open up space for political discussions. It is organized with the efforts against the dichotomic sexual order of all independent activists, LGBTI+ grassroot organisations and people from many other social movements. Often scheduled for the last week of June, LGBTI+ Pride Week practices solidarity and resistance against heterosexism, dichotomic sexual order, homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia. LGBTI+ individuals from all social spheres celebrate their sexuality and sexual identity against the idea of LGBTI+ individuals being wrong and alone, with the pride of engaging in a confident relationship at peace with their society and city.

Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week takes these principles as foundation for its content, discourse and policies:

Solidarity Against All Discrimination – Although Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week gathers to discuss the LGBTI+ community’s problems it stands against not only discrimination for sexual orientation and sexual identity but all kinds of oppression and discrimination for religion, race, nation, gender, species, citizenship, age, ability and so on.

Horizontal Organisation/Pluralism – As the hierarchical organisation models, association patterns based on the tyranny of human to human or human to nature bring along oppression, violence and discrimination, Pride Week embodies the horizontal organization model in which there is no director and the directed. Pride Week preparation meetings are open to all and calls everyone who wants to volunteer to actively take part in the process.
Respect for responsibilities and contributions – LGBTI+ Pride Week is a volunteer-based organization and accepts taking responsibility and initiative via commissions, working groups and workshops as a principle. Preparing for the Pride Week, everyone’s contribution is equally respected without any hierarchical comparisons in the responsibilities taken and the jobs done in a way against labor exploitation.

Accountability – As we work together voluntarily, it is expected from each of us to fulfill the responsibilities that we take up. Whenever we cannot, it is expected from us to ask for help or hand over the aforementioned responsibilities to others.

Nonviolence – Volunteers stand against all kinds of violence between themselves and in their relationship with the society, in discourses and actions produced.

Independence – Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week does not represent any political party, government or institution and does not become a part of any initiative which will prevent its organizational independence. In addition, Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week March one does not attend with governmental flags, political party flags, pennants or banners other than the rainbow flag, which represents the social variation and multi-colored structure. As a march in which every LGBTI+ individual from all parts of society celebrates their social visibility, LGBTI+ Pride March is open to participation and visibility of all LGBTI+ grassroot organizations which continues their identity and existential struggle, without conflicting the community’s social, cultural, religious and ideological variation.

Owning the memory – Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March represents existence and visibility of each individual who makes up the whole of LGBTI+ community in the social, political and cultural sphere. From marches that barely reached a couple of participants to marches that bring thousands together, Pride Week owns its memory by remembering the victims of homophobic/transphobic/biphobic violence and the movement’s history.
It worries us the Pride Week Committee that some groups organize events for profit by using the name of Pride Week. For-profit events of the commercial circles conflict with the LGBTI+ movements which has reached its 25th year and the values of Pride Week events. With this text, we would like to announce everyone that events except the ones that Pride Week preparation committee organized and supported for solidarity and announced via its official website, twitter and Facebook accounts have no affiliation whatsoever with Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week organization.

*Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week and Pride March that will be held for the 25th time this year has grown with the visibility and the mass solidarity the movement created. Growing power of the LGBTI+ movement as a political subject by popularization has been met with fear from the current government who tries to silence all parts of opposition and our Pride March which we held in peace each year has faced harsh police interference and bans. This scene of oppression, instead of weakening, has strengthened our enthusiasm for solidarity, visibility, and resistance. LGBTI+ Pride Week and March will continue its struggle to exist despite all oppression it faces each year.