Turkish court lifts ban on Pride events in Ankara

Ankara Pride 2014

A court has lifted a ban on LGBTI Pride events being held in Turkey’s capital city, Ankara.

Kaos GL, a Turkish LGBTI rights group, successfully appealed the ban at the 12th administrative court on Friday (20 April).

LGBTI rights supporters had attempted to appeal the ban in November 2018, which was ultimately rejected.

The ban had been in effect since November 2017. It had been introduced under emergency powers brought in following an attempted coup against the Turkish government in 2016.

The governor’s office had initially justified the move on the grounds that LGBTI Pride events could ‘provoke reactions within certain segments’, such as counter-protests from far-right groups.

‘This is a momentous day’ 

News of the ban being lifted was welcomed by LGBTI supporters in Turkey. In recent years, LGBTI rights advocates have expressed alarm at what they perceive to be increasing authoritarianism and homophobia by the authorities.

‘We can say that the court has accepted our arguments that we have advocated since the day when the ban has declared,’ Hayriye Kara, a lawyer working for Kaos GL’s lawyer, said in a statement.

‘Instead of banning fundamental rights and freedoms to protect social peace, they said that the group that is vulnerable to any attack should be protected. It can be said that the court ruled that the state must protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of LGBTI+s.’

The court’s decision was also praised by  Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for Europe.

‘This is a momentous day for LGBTI people in Turkey and a huge victory for the LGBTI rights activists – love has won once again,’ said Filippou.

‘LGBTI people and their allies were scandalously and unlawfully banned from holding any LGBTI related events since November 2017. With Pride season approaching next month we celebrate this significant court ruling.’

The mayoralties in both Ankara and Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, have been under the control of the ruling conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) since 1994.

However, this changed after last month’s local elections. Both cities were taken by candidates from the Republican People’s Party (CHP). The CHP is known for being more supportive of LGBT rights, the Middle East Eye reports.

Threats from far-right groups and the authorities 

Turkey is infamous for its widespread and systemic prejudices levied at the LGBTI community.

In a recent ILGA-Europe poll of LGBTI rights of countries in Europe and Western Asia, Turkey was placed third from the bottom – two places below Russia, a country notorious for its dreadful record of LGBTI-rights.

In the past, far-right groups have attacked Pride events. LGBTI rights activists in Turkey have also experienced widespread discrimination and abuse from the authorities.

In July last year, Istanbul police stormed a Pride event and fired rubber bullets and teargas into the crowd. The police raid happened despite Pride organizers having reached a last-minute agreement with the authorities to allow the march.

Ail Errol, the founder of Kaos GL and one of Turkey’s most high-profile LGBTI rights activists, was arrested in February last year. Errol’s arrest, which was believed to have been in relations to postings on social media, was condemned by his supporters.

Author: Calum Stuart

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Engaged lesbians face abuse, discrimination on college campus in Italy

two women stand together with their arms around each other in a crowd of people

Two lesbians engaged to be married have said they are the victims of ongoing abuse and discrimination.

Known only as GB, 27, and LS, 21, the pair said they have no respite from ongoing taunts about their sexuality. They even face from some of their friends in group chats they belong to.

The pair study psychology and cultural mediation (the study using data to analyse the cultural difference between people) respectively. They are students at the University of Padua in the northern Italian region of Veneto. Both women live on campus in the Copernicus Residence.

‘When they came to tell us that our displays of affection were too noice, we laughed, then it degenerated and we realized that this was an attack on us, because we are lesbians,’ the pair told media.

Padua Pride

The women spoke at a press conference marking the launch of Padua Pride on 1 June. The pair were chosen because this year’s Pride theme will focus on women and feminism.

Padua is also the birthplace of Mariasilvia Spolato, the first woman to publicly come out as lesbian in Italy.

Organisers plan to link ‘traditional’ LGBTI issues to feminist issues such as overcoming discrimination and the fight against gender stereotypes. They also acknowledged the need to ‘ join forces because the continuous attacks on civil rights affects
both women and the LGBTI community’.

‘Certainly this year’s Pride has a strong feminine and feminist declination,’ said Padua Pride spokesperson, Mattia Galdiolo.

‘We cannot fail to realize that the attacks we receive as LGBTI communities are of the same matrix, if not of the same origin,
as those received by women.

‘Therefore, it will certainly be a LGBTI Pride but also a feminist one, who will know how to respond clearly to those who want to limit their rights but also to those who promote intolerance, hatred and fear of differences.’

 

 

Author: Shannon Power

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LGBTI people share moving stories of their high school prom

Being open about your sexual orientation or gender identity in high school can be hard. And so can be prom.

While some look back at their proms with a nostalgic smile, this is hardly ever the case for LGBTI people.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people often have traumatic memories of their own proms — if they went at all.

Bullying and anxiety to fit into the heteronormative mould turn what should be a fun night into a nightmare.

Those who did brave the annual celebration of outdated gender stereotypes sometimes wish they could do it all over again. That’s where Queer Prom comes in.

Queer Prom

At Queer Prom, created by Vicki Cook, everyone can rewrite their prom stories.

LGBTI have the chance to attend an inclusive event designed for them. They can wear whatever outfit they want and invite whoever they want to be with.

The next events will take place in Brighton on 31 May and Birmingham on 12 July.

‘We plan to take Queer Prom all over the UK, and one day beyond,’ said Cook.

She explained she’d like to give everyone the ‘opportunity to rewrite those negative or non-existent prom stories’.

Ahead of the upcoming proms, 9 LGBTI people reminisced of their own — good and bad.

Nikolai

‘I spent my childhood and teenage years extremely ill and missed out on a lot of school and events that my peers went to,’ they said.

‘I didn’t have a prom or school dance and even if I had I’m not sure I would have been able to go as I would like to have presented. Being non-binary and visibly disabled is hard as a teenager and I felt very self-conscious whenever around my peers.

‘Coming to Queer Prom allows me to be who I am without fear of ridicule or shame – knowing I’ll be not just accepted, but celebrated, and that means the world to me.’

Yaz

‘I was incredibly fortunate to have a supportive gang of friends who would probably have been disappointed if I’d turned up to prom in anything resembling “normal,”‘ she said.

‘I did my best not to disappoint, rocking up with my fabulous girlfriend, and wearing a kilt – an ode to my future university career in Scotland and the closest thing to genderqueer formal wear I could come up with in the early 2000s home counties.

‘That night, I also professed my long-standing affections for my favourite teacher, to which she replied, “yep, I know”. Then we shared a dance. I like to think that if we had elected a prom king and queen, I would have won them both!

‘I realise how unusual that experience was, especially back in the last dirty days of Section 28.’

Seb

‘My high school prom would have been the last time anyone saw me with long hair and a dress on,’ he said.

‘I’ve always wanted to stand out but before I came out I was making myself stand out for the wrong reasons. Being at prom, even being complimented so much, looking the way I did, didn’t feel right. I felt like a stranger among people I’d known forever.

‘Since moving to Brighton, it’s events like Queer Prom, where anything goes that are so important. Queer people need a safe space to express themselves, and fashion and nightlife is such a huge part of our culture.’

Cornelia

‘When I look at the pictures from my school prom, it’s painfully obvious how much I was trying to fit in and be a normal girl, when that just isn’t me,’ they said.

‘I forced myself into this awful navy blue ball gown that I thought was what I was “supposed to” wear, and I was visibly uncomfortable the whole night. I didn’t dance, I got in as fewer photos as I could, and I was one of the first to leave.’

Harry

‘When I first went to prom, it was completely unremarkable,’ they said.

‘I followed the rules, I wore a men’s suit, danced to music I didn’t like and did everything I could to fit in. If I were to go now I would express my femininity with unabashed freedom.’

Atusa

‘I actually had two proms growing up, one when I was 16 and one when I was 18 and both were very different,’ she said.

‘At my first prom I was still in the closet. I hadn’t accepted who I was yet and being part of an Islamic family. I’d been taught that being gay was wrong.

She also said: ‘I wore a dress, had long hair and wore a face full of makeup to my prom, and even though I looked lovely and felt confident, I wasn’t happy and wasn’t able to present myself as I had always wanted to present myself. I wanted to wear a suit, have short hair and present myself in a way that society would label as masculine.’

‘By my second prom, I had overcome all this and accepted myself. I had come out and was lucky enough to have the support of my friends, but I wasn’t yet out to my family.

She added: ‘I went to my second prom in a suit, bow tie and suspenders, with short hair dyed different crazy colours. I absolutely loved it.’

Rae

‘I didn’t have a school prom. There was one at my college but there wasn’t a chance I was going to that,’ she said.

‘The thought of being forced into a dress and go with a boy was actually my worst nightmare. So I just had an ‘alternative prom’ with my friend Steve.’

Vicki

‘My prom night reflected my experience of school. I felt isolated and very much an outsider, I never really fit in and if I did it was because I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t just to get by,’ she said.

She also said: ‘I did everything I was expected to, I went to my prom, I wore a beautiful dress and got all dolled up. Yet I still felt lost and like I was on the outside looking in.

‘I decided to create Queer Prom as a way of offering the LGBTI community a chance experience prom as they always should have been able to. A prom without fear of discrimination, homophobia and transphobia. It has been absolutely magical to see people doing just that.’

Queer Prom is inclusive

‘It’s a breath of fresh air,’ a non-binary person of color who wishes to remain anonymous said of Queer Prom.

‘Being part of such a marginalised community that is also full of so much love and acceptance, it can be especially painful when events are thrown and not all of us are considered in the organisational process.’

All pictures by Kaleido Shoots

See also

Why are LGBTI people calling for a Coachella boycott?

The cast of Pose among this year’s New York City Pride Grand Marshals

Inside The Dinah Shore, the wildest festival for lesbian and bi women

Author: Stefania Sarrubba

The post LGBTI people share moving stories of their high school prom appeared first on Gay Star News.