ADDED ON: 06/11/2022

Inside Istanbul’s underground queer scene

6/10/22 | i-D

The month of June officially marks Pride in many countries around the world. Since 2003, Istanbul Pride has taken place in Taksim Square, where participants gather to march down İstiklal Avenue, and where over 100,000 people turned up in 2014 — making it the largest ever LGBTQ+ celebration in Muslim-majority country. The following year, however, queer people and their allies were met with police wielding water cannons and rubber bullets and the government has banned Pride ever since. People still gather each year, but face increasing hostility from the conservative Turkish government. Homosexuality isn’t illegal in Turkey, but discrimination runs rampant and attacks on LGBTQ+ folks are on the rise. The sociopolitical climate has forced queer people to fend for themselves, creating their own venues, galleries and safe spaces to build community. Though artists, especially, struggle to make a living as a result of censorship and homophobia, amongst the underground scene there’s love, solidarity and resilience in the face of all the hate. We spoke to ten queer Turkish artists about their stories, their struggles and their hopes for the future.

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