Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Protests in Istanbul – Pretty Colours, Police Riot Vans and Men with Flags…
Yesterday as we strolled the streets of Taksim Square we saw a lot of crazy things. Some were ridiculous (a marching band advertising a clothes shop), some were cool (street performers who had to be magic) and some were exciting and wonderful…
As the crowds began to assemble, I felt as though I was a journalist, about to uncover the newest and best story. Police Riot Vans rolled up and officers with guns, pepper spray and shields lined up along the street. A few man with Turkish flags stood close to Taksim Square making a sign with their hands that I didn’t understand.
Then, as we moved away a little, we saw marching up the street towards Taksim Square a sea of rainbows and people, chanting, singing and yelling. The protestors were either dressed up in rainbow colours or they were holding placards as they marched up the street and it quickly became clear to us that they were marching for gay and lesbian rights.
The scene was incredible. So much energy and power coming from the group as the police lined up in two groups, one facing the LGBT group and one facing the men with Turkish flags. Daniel made the suggestion that perhaps the police were keeping the two groups separate and while we still don’t know if this is true, it definitely could have been a possibility as the men with Turkish flags looked very angry and kept yelling agressively towards the group.
I found this article today confirming that the march was indeed for the LGBT, demanding rights for anti discrimination and for them to be included socially, as well as demanding justice be served for murdered homosexuals.
An article detailing one example of so called “honor killings” against gay and lesbians in Turkey can be found here.
Such sad injustices exist throughout the world everyday and I’m so glad and lucky to be able to travel the world and see these first hand so I don’t become stuck and complacent in my own first world country and the problems I think are actually important or significant. Watching this march was both fascinating and amazing and I truly hope that one day intolerances such as these can be just historical. A story that our kids will never believe.