A fifty-foot rainbow, lesbian drums circles and hundreds of high-heeled men and women touting whistles and pride placards, filled İstiklal Caddesi on Sunday, officially marking the beginning of Istanbul’s Gay Pride Week.
Now two years in the making, the march kicked off what is being billed as ‘Sexual Freedom Week,’ as thousands of LGBTT supporters—that’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transvestite, transsexual—along with members of the gay community took to the streets to show their support.
A celebration of all things sexual liberation and social solidarity amongst the transsexual community here in Turkey, the event was hosted by Istanbul LGBTT amongst other gay rights organizations.
It’s no secret that the transsexual community continues to face widespread discrimination here in Turkey. Not far from where yesterday’s march was being held in Istanbul’s crumbling Tarlabasi district, brothels and transgendered clubs provide a refuge of sorts to the transgendered.
The LGBTT march acts as a prelude to next weekend’s 20th annual Gay Pride Parade set to be held on Sunday, July 1. words and photography by Michelle Gross