ADDED ON: 07/29/2021

LGBT Turks Take Stock After Disrupted Pride Celebrations

07/28/2021 | Voice of America

ISTANBUL – More than a month after Turkish authorities crushed Pride-themed events in Istanbul, emotions still run raw for members of the country’s embattled LGBT community. “There was lots of violence. I was beaten up and so were most of the people I was arrested with,” Istanbul resident Alaz Yener told VOA. “They used zip ties to handcuff us, hands behind our back, and refused to cut the zip ties off for a long time.” Yener, who is non-binary, was detained when security forces broke up an attempted Pride parade in Taksim, a central Istanbul borough. Other LGBT-themed gatherings were also disrupted in the city in June, recognized as Pride month for sexual minorities in many parts of the world. “The violence, and also the way the police dehumanized and insulted us at every chance, trying to assert as much control as possible on everything we did, it was all very stressful,” Yener said. Branded as ‘deviants’ – Even before the suppression of Pride events, Turkey’s LGBT community found itself in the spotlight of national politics and at the core of student activism. In February, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke of sexual minorities with contempt, claiming in a televised speech that, in a moral nation like Turkey, LGBT people do not exist.


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