Monday, June 25, 2012

Sometimes you just happen to be in the right place at the right time.

Last night, we had just sat down at a restaurant in the Asmalı Mescit neighborhood of Beyoğlu. I ordered a glass of white wine, then suddenly heard whistles, drums and lots of people nearby. What was going on?

Of course, I wanted to find out so I grabbed my purse and told our waiter in my best Turkish that I'd be back in a minute. I'm sure he thought I was some crazy yabancı, but that's nothing new.

Once on Istiklal Caddesi, I saw the rainbow flags and LGBTT banners and realized I 
was in the midst of a gay pride parade in Istanbul.
June 24, 2012 Gay Pride Parade in Istanbul
I was surprised to see thousands of demonstrators chanting about gay rights in 
Turkish. I'm sure standing up for gay rights in a predominantly Muslim world 
isn't easy. So huge kudos to everyone who had the courage to do so yesterday!
I actually didn't find anything about this event in the Turkish news this morning. 
However, here is a link to a YouTube video "Kicking off Gay Pride Week in Istanbul."

I watched the crowd pass by for a few minutes, took a few photos and then 
rushed back to the restaurant. My husband didn't know where I was. Oops!
Note to self: you never know when might get that perfect photograph so ALWAYS bring
 the good camera with you.

Tagged: ,


Julia said...

Wow, we didn't know anything about this, either. Love a colourful parade!! :)

hannah said...

If I recall correctly, the march at the beginning of Istanbul pride week is a transgender walk of remembrance; the big parade is next sunday, on the 1st. You should go - it's always something incredible to see!

Ozlem's Turkish Table said...

That is a sight, and so glad these parades happening, well done for capturing the moment!:)

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i just told my kids that one of the things i am happiest about with my life is that i have lived long enough to see gay rights come as far as they have.

Joy said...

@Julia, sometimes you just run into things!

@Hannah, thank you! I was trying to find some info online in English/Turkish and wasn't successful. Unfortunately, this coming weekend we will be in the Adana and Gaziantep area.

Joy said...

@Ozlem, me too!

@Joyce, Yes, conquering one obstacle at a time! :-)

Cuisine de Provence said...

I just sent this to a couple of friends who were always afraid to go to Istanbul, so thank you for posting this, Joy!

BacktoBodrum said...

Hope the march spreads to other cities in the near future.

Andrew Graeme Gould said...

How fortunate you were with your timing, Joy! Very well caught in your series here.

Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane said...

Yes, always bring your camera! I have regretted not doing so a number of times.

I didn't know about a gay parade in Istanbul. Definitely more "modest" than others, but glad they got the chance to do it!

Anonymous said...

Great post :) this was not even the official gay pride, This sunday, july the first, the biggest gay pride in the muslim world will be held in Istanbul ... 17:00 Taksim square !

Erica (Irene) said...

here in Toronto we had our Pride Parade...and I read that a million people turned out that weekend from all over the US and Canada and as far as is very colourful.

Karen said...

Lovely of you to document this and share their pride. It's been wonderful this year to see the definition of freedom become more inclusive of all people.

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