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#IDAHOT in Turkish capital: For freedom and love!

Sunday, May 17, 2015
May 17, the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), has been celebrated today with the largest participation ever in the Turkish capital. This year’s slogan “We are marching for freedom and love” attracted thousands under rainbow flags, marking the end of the 10th International Anti-Homophobia Meeting organized by Kaos GL Association.
 
The Kaos GL’s 10th International Anti-Homophobia Meeting in dedication of May 17 focused on queer pedagogy, collective crimes, discrimination in sports and experiences of women story authors:
 
“Safety itself may well be a threat”
“Lesbian players face pressure from their coaches about social media”
Lesbian story contest: Changing lives through writing encouraged to me to write more
“We should resist victim derogation for collective responsibility”
Room for a new thought: Queering bathrooms against trans erasure
 
At the end of the panels, activists met at Ankara University’s Cebeci Campus, which is often targeted by Islamist daily Vahdet for its “collaboration with perverts”. Academics, activists, students, workers and union members chanted slogans such as “love and freedom, away from hatred”, “Gays will not shut up”, “The world would turn upside down, if trans people were free” together with a queered version of a famous Kurdish feminist slogan “women, life, freedom”.
 
The march ended in Sakarya Square with a press release condemning the military coup in 1980, following the recent death of coup leader Kenan Evren, which resulted in violence against many who do not conform to heteronormative expectations.
 
Then music took over. Firstly, feminist singer Gulay was on stage and sang songs she wrote against patriarchy. After her, the Compiled Band composed of LGBTI activists sang folk songs. Finally, The Group Arin sang Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic songs, which attracted many passersby and stirred up the crowd for famous folk dance halay.
 

Here are some of the photos from the Ankara’s IDAHOT: 

Activists are ready for the march

Ankara University, which runs a Queer Theory master’s courses with Kaos GL Association, has been the starting point of the march

High school LGBTI group Liseli LGBTI

LGBTI student organization of Hacettepe University, Queer Deer: From campuses to streets, for a colorful, free life

Student collectives carrying banners that read “Ayse loves Fatma”, “Ali loves Ahmet”, “Down with your morality!”

Kurdish and Armenian banners are common to see in LGBTI marches in Turkey but this one is in Laz language, meaning “for freedom and love”.

“Say no to homophobia in science”

Love for everyone

Iranian activists participated in the march and prepared videos with activists from Turkey
 
Colors of the rainbow, unite against heteronormativity!
A queer intervention on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) poster for the June 7. The AKP poster reads “They talk, the AKP does” and the graffiti reads “Challenging you to fight homophobia”. The ruling party failed to mention LGBTI rights in its election manifesto.
 
Supporter group for Galatasaray: Gays are everywhere, leave hate speech!
 
The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) provided a meeting vehicle for the march. The HDP has the most progressive election manifesto regarding LGBTI rights in Turkey.
 
Helmets have become part of LGBTI protests in Turkey following the death of 301 miners in Soma last year. Kaos GL Association dedicated the last year’s march to the Soma mining tragedy and protested against worker murders together with homophobia and transphobia.  
 
The Erasmus students in Ankara joined the march
 
Openly gay candidate for the HDP, Baris Sulu: Trans and gay people in support of the [striking] Renault workers #RenaultResists
 
Feminist singer Gulay: We are the grandchildren of witches you could not burn
 
The Compiled Band singing folk songs
 
The Group Arin made people dance
 
Trans rights activists
 
Halay means more than just a dance for many in Turkey. It means unity, a celebration of the Anatolian cultures. 
I dance halay, therefore I am. 
As Kaos GL’s motto suggests: The liberation of homosexuals will also free heterosexuals. 

 

RELATED VIDEO

Time for halay in Ankara’s IDAHOT

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