the Time Out Istanbul in English blog: never miss a beat

We were there: Gay Pride Parade 2012

Posted at 15:00 July 2, 2012 in City

Around 4:30 pm, we gathered at Taksim Square, where the anticipation hanging in the air could only be described as ‘the calm before the storm’: groups of three or four people waiting for the big moment – and the flag – to arrive. The crowd finally grew closer to the appointed time of 5:00 pm, and the whole scene suddenly transformed into a kaleidoscope of colours with people pulling rainbow flags from their bags. Banners with Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian slogans like ‘Accept it, we’re everywhere’ and ‘Lesbians exist’, among many others, were passed around from hand to hand. Then, the true symbol of the Gay Pride Parade, the giant rainbow flag, was unfolded, with folks gathered around and under it chanting well-worn phrases to get the crowd truly going. And with a heavy dose of adrenaline was pumping through our veins, we began the descent from İstiklal Caddesi towards Tünel. To say that thousands of people were there seems like an understatement, and we, as the Time Out Istanbul team, lost each other after only a few steps. Each of us was in a different spot, as we later found out – some holding onto the corner of the flag, seeking refuge in the shade; others trying to get a reaction from the forlorn-looking spectators by pointing their banners and blowing kisses at them…

The LİSTAG (Families of LGBTs in Istanbul) crowd set the pace of the whole event by walking slowly yet resolutely at the head of the parade, waving signs that proudly proclaimed ‘I am your father; I am with you’ and ‘My child is gay’. As can be expected, the transsexual attendees were the most spirited of all, and they certainly made up for the scarcity of chants with their colourful, creative and often political costumes. The most exhilarating moments of the parade happened when the entire cortege came to a full stop in front of businesses known for their homophobic/ transphobic behaviour (we proudly saluted both Mango and the Demirören shopping centre). The pinnacle of the spectacle was undoubtedly the finale at Tünel Square. We saluted the cheering members of the community draping rainbow flags over the wrought iron tower and parted from Tünel. Until next year… Time Out Istanbul Team

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the Time Out Istanbul in English blog: never miss a beat Ajans Medya © 2013 All rights reserved.