Pride Week marked with ‘rainbow chain’
Taken from this week's issue
By GÜLDEREN ÖZTANSU
SUPPORTERS of LGBTI+ rights formed a “rainbow chain” from the “Pronto Roundabout” to the Parliament building in Lefkoşa to mark the beginning of Pride Week on Monday, which was the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
They carried rainbow flags and placards and banners bearing messages such as “We are in the same sea, not on the same ship” and “I do what I want, I love who I want”.
Erman Dolmacı and Doğukan Gümüşatam read out a written statement on behalf of the “May 17 Organising Committee” that said:
“Today is the 31st anniversary of the World Health Organization declassifying homosexuality as a health problem . . . [However] in the north of Cyprus, pride parades have [only] been organised every year since 2014, when homosexuality was decriminalised under the Penal Code.
“These marches are carried out to provide lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and plus people with equal access to human rights and to stop them from facing discrimination.
“In our country, intersex people are subjected to unnecessary medical interventions at young ages; many transgender people do not have access to the gender integration process and the right to legal gender recognition; homosexuals and bisexuals are made to hide in schools, workplaces, and socialising environments and face great risks if they come out; the LGBTI+ are bullied and discriminated against by those around them, especially in schools and in workplaces; so, in conclusion, today the legal and social rights granted to heterosexual and non-trans people are not recognised for LGBTI+ people.
“For this reason we will continue our struggle until discrimination comes to an end and we continue to exist with our colours getting stronger.”
Politicians who supported the march included opposition MPs Doğuş Derya and Erkut Şahali of the Republican Turkish Party; Ayşegül Baybars, Gülşah Manavoğlu and Jale Refik Rogers of the People’s Party; Zeki Çeler of the Social Democracy Party; and Lefkoşa Mayor Mehmet Harmancı.
The May 17 Organising Committee consists of: the Queer Cyprus Association, the Refugee Rights Association, the Women’s Education Collective, the Voice of the International Students, Baraka Cultural Centre, Cyprus Women’s Health Research Association, the Left Movement, the Republican Turkish Party – Youth Branch and Women’s Branch, Social Democracy Party – Youth Branch and Gender Equality Committee, the People’s Party – Gender Equality Committee, and others.