Monthly Archives: June 2010

Making Posters for Zagreb Pride

For the last week Pride participants have been invited to visit the headquarters of Zagreb Pride to get their signs and posters ready for Saturday’s march.  It’s a big open room, but with the distinct smell of spray paint.

Zagreb Pride Signmaking

This year’s theme is freedom of sexual expression.Zagreb Pride Signmaking

Organizing Zagreb Pride

Located in a former squat, which has been transformed into an artist collective, Chad and I find the headquarters of Zagreb Pride.  It’s a colorful room with posters plastered on the wall highlighting past (and the current) Prides.  Ten of the organizers of Zagreb Pride are meeting to discuss the newest developments concerning Saturday’s march.

While the Pride march in Zagreb has been going on since 2002, it has not been an easy journey.  Many of the past parades have been marred by violence, and organizers continually have to battle with government officials and the police concerning details of how the march is held.

Sitting around on sofas the Zagreb Pride organizing committee discusses the latest issue affecting the pride.  While the police have agreed to protect the marchers, they are standing firm that participants should not walk down the street.  Instead, the police feel that the marchers should walk along the sidewalks – sandwiched between street kiosks and buildings.  Another problem, the government has also approved a counter-demonstration by the youth branch of the HČSP (Croatian Pure Party of Rights), a right wing nationalist party in Croatia, to be held at the same time as the Pride march – and in the main square.  Many feel this is inviting trouble, as the Pride march will be passing this same main square, making it so those participating in the Pride march will be coming in direct contact with those against the pride.  However, as international monitors, including those from the EU and Amnesty International, will be in attendance there is the strong belief that those against the Pride will be kept under control by law enforcement.

After an hour or so of discussions, the meeting breaks and everyone disburses.  While the issues the organizers are facing are frustrating, they are not uncommon, especially in places where homophobia makes it a struggle to publicly show pride.

Zagreb Pride

Zagreb Pride 2010 – “Croatia can swallow it”

Zagre Pride Poster

A message from Zagreb Pride

Freedom of sexual expression and the variety of sexual practices

The freedom of sexual expression, the variety of physical and sexual manifestations and practices, the multiplicity of personal and collective identities made through self-definition should become and will become a part of the Croatian reality. To fight for gender freedom – the right of every person to express their gender and their body in a way they themselves have chosen, through femininity, androginy, masculinity, hybridity, non-expressiveness and gender contradictory – means to fight for freedom as a supreme value that belongs to every individual. Zagreb Pride is standing daily and actively against every kind of limitation and inhibition considering our bodies and the multitude of our genders.

In Croatia the only place where people can be free and freed genderwise is the LGBTIQ Pride March. We, in Zagreb Pride, consider every individual to have the right to define one’s own personal identity, to publicly express it and expect society to respect and accept it.

Human beings frequently have a relationship with their own bodies beyond what is allowed by society’s repressive norms of physical appearance and expression of self through the body. This means some people among us are not exclusively focused on a choice of partner based only on two genders. They can comprehend and live a more vast reality of their bodies and sexuality, far from the opressive and habitual concepts of homosexuality or heterosexuality, sex being the category which the human experience of body and sexuality are reduced to  when choosing a lover or a partner.

Sexual and gender steretypes are powerful tools for controlling our freedom and for pushing us into cramped categories like man/woman, gay/straight, single/coupled, single/married, normal/abnormal, ordinary/weird. We LGBTIQ (lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexual and queer) individuals strive to break through and smash opressive gender and sex boundaries with our practices and activist interventions, by building a society free of prejudiced categories.

When two people express themselves and their sexuality in terms of kissing in a bar or club, if they conform to the habitual patterns of the allowed heterosexual behaviour, they are accepted, supported or stay unnoticed. When we, LGBTIQ individuals, behave in the same manner, but have a non sterotypical appearance or bodies, we are rejected, violently interrupted, reproached, and oftenly enough – beaten. Zagreb Pride wants every wanted kiss, hug and touch to be an expression of freedom and love always and everywhere.

A hug or kiss between two men is allowed on the football ground or stands, while celebrating victory. When two gay men express affection for each other, they put their lives at risk. When a group of young men and women sunbathe, play ball, put sun screen on each other’s backs, no-one sees anything peculiar, only youngsters displaying affection and seduction. But when a group of women on a beach openly express that they are lesbians, they are subjected to sexist and chauvinist attacks and risks of sexual assault, or even rape. When a transgendered or transsexual individual is required to show ID by governement regulations, the only document allowed has the gender identity referred to at birth. The most common reaction is ridicule, contempt and often enough – disgust. These individuals are being forcebly pushed to the brinks of society.

Zagreb Pride protects and will always protect every kiss.

The freedom of expressing gender diversity and the multitude of sexual practices are not a threat to anyone, just by existing we are exposed to discrimination and violence. We have the exclusive right to make our own decisions regarding our bodies and no ideological, political, law, medicine or religion norm should disregard the integrity of our bodies against our will and prevent us from doing what we want with our own bodies.

Zagreb Pride will make the 9th Pride March a day of celebration and affirmation of freedom in all its forms.

Let us celebrate the freedom of gender and sexual expression on the 19th of June. Let us celebrate the countless genders, the multitude and richness of all the body’s expressions. Let us celebrate the freedom of sexual practices of all people.

(from Zagreb-Pride.net)

(Here’s a YouTube video promoting the march, but it might only make sense if you know Croatian ;) )

Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Croatia

Croatia LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes , since 1977

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? Yes and No

◊ No registered partnerships or marriage allowed, but unregistered cohabitation recognized since 2003 (so partners living together for 3 or more years receive the same rights concerning inheritance and financial support as unmarried cohabiting couples).

◊ In 2005 legislation was proposed to allow civil unions, but was rejected by parliament.

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? As individuals

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes

Anti-discrimination Laws? Yes

Legislature Concerning Gender Identity? Some

Right to change gender allowed, and anti-discrimination legislation since 2009

Cultural Points of Interest:

Since 2006 Croatia has had legislation concerning hate crimes, and this legislation was first used to prosecute a man that attempted to attack Zagreb Pride in 2007 with Molotov cocktails.

Websites:

Zagreb-pride.netOfficial website for Zagreb Pride, it provides a complete program and information on the events that make up Zagreb pride. http://www.zagreb-pride.net

Gay.hr – News and information for the Croatia LGBT community. http://kuga.gay.hr

Lesbian Group Kontra – A Croatian non profit based in Zagreb that promotes lesbian rights.  The group provides various resources to the local lesbian community. http://www.kontra.hr

Gay Friendly Croatia – A great site providing information for gay friendly travel in Croatia.  In 2009 they published the first Zagreb City Gay Guide, which was supported by the local Zagreb tourism board.  http://www.friendlycroatia.com

Istanbul Trans Pride (VIDEO + Photos!)

Video of Istanbul’s First Trans Pride!

(So sorry if you are trying to view this video from Turkey, unless you have figured out a way around the YouTube block!)


AND New images of the pride are on our WWP Blog:

Istanbul Trans Pride

http://wwpbehindthephotos.wordpress.com 
(Istanbul’s First Trans Pride)

Istanbul’s First Trans Pride!

Not silent, but on the street

Not hiding, but organized

We are walking against hate!

Istanbul Turkey Trans Pride

Trans pride took over Istiklal Street in Istanbul.  Held jointly by the organizations Istanbul LGBTT, Women’s Door, and the political group EHP, almost 500 people turned out to support transgender pride.  I admit I was very happily surprised by the turnout, and the positive reactions from bystanders the march received.

The afternoon of the pride, Chad and I arrived in the lilac headquarters of Istanbul LGBTT.  Many of the girls were getting their outfits ready.  While some were dressed up, many others wore more ordinarily dressed, but wearing pride symbols.  The room quickly began to get crowded as more people and a camera crew showed up.  It was stuffy and crowded, but at the same time everyone seemed excited for the march.  Soon those who were ready started heading to the Pride meeting point.

Getting Ready for Trans Pride in Istanbul Turkey

We left the apartment with 10 or so others – and it was like a mini pride had begun.  What I love about this group is that they do nothing softly.  Waving flags and beating drums, they walked proudly down the small little side streets toward the gathering spot, as people in outside cafes looked, and with some also clapping in support.

The meeting point for the Trans Pride march was on the far end of Istiklal Street.  A huge 20m rainbow flag was unrolled, as bystanders stood around watching.  Soon, the number of people in the square started swelling as more people stopped to look, and more participants of the Pride started showing up.

Rainbow Flat at Istanbul Turkey Trans Pride

Being a Sunday, Istiklal Street – a pedestrian only shopping street – was extremely crowded.  With drums beating the march began.  There was no DJ or artificial music, but instead megaphones were used to lead marchers in chants.  At several points those with the speakers yelled that those against homophobia should sit down, in which everyone participating took a seat.  A group of traditional Turkish street musicians joined the pride at one point, and near the finish some people started dancing.  Finally, at the end of the march people got up and spoke to highlights the issues and problems the Trans community faces, especially the increasing amount of hate crimes and the terrible state of lack of discrimination legislation that had prompted this march.

Trans Pride Istanbul Turkey


While the march did receive an open minded reception from the majority of people, the original trans-phobic causes for having the march should not be forgotten.   Being a witness to this first ever Turkey Trans Pride was truly exciting, and I sincerely hope they have succeeded in drawing more attention to their cause, and solidarity among more people from the ‘voting’ public.

The WWP’s 100th Post!

Wow, I can’t believe this little blog is at its’ 100th post!  Well, thank you to all that have been following our journey.

It has been a long time since last November when we first thought of this project, and even though we are nowhere near done, I have to say it has been a very rewarding experience!

Here’s just a quick look back at the different Prides we’ve documented …

Taipei Pride

Taipei Taiwan


Manila Pride


Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras

Pride kiss taken by Charles Meacham of the Walk with Pride Project at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras


Baltic Pride – Lithuania

Pride Image of Baltic Pride 2010


Slavic Pride – Belarus

Sergey at Slavic Pride 2010


GayFest – Romania

GayFest 2010 in Bucharest Romania


Moscow Pride

Moscow Pride 2010


Athens Pride

Athens Pride Protest


AND, tomorrow we are thrilled to be attending Turkey’s very first Trans Pride march!

Istanbul Trans Pride 2010 Trans Onur Haftasi

Again thanks to all who have been reading this blog, and please keep following as we will have many more postings before the conclusion of this project!

Promoting Trans Pride in Turkey

Held on Thursday afternoon, in the headquarters of Istanbul LGBTT, no press turned up for the press conference to hear the details concerning Turkey’s first Trans Pride.

empty chairs during Trans pride press conference
Despite the media’s absence, the press conference is still held – but with a German film maker, Maria, who is also documenting the group recording it.  Members of the Trans community get up and speak about the reasons for having this march, and its importance.  Some of the main issues the group hopes to draw attention to with Sunday’s demonstration are the escalating levels of violence toward the Trans community, and the lack of anti-sexual/gender discrimination laws in their constitution.

Later in the day we go out with the group as they hang fliers and leaflets to promote Trans Pride week.  A lot of the bystanders who watch them seem generally curious about what they are promoting.

Hanging leaflets to promote Trans Pride in Turkey

After spending an hour walking the streets and side streets of the trendy Bosphorus district of Istanbul an informational stand is erected on Istiklal Street, a major shopping area lined with luxury stores and sidewalk cafes.

This area of Istanbul is very metropolitan, and I’m again surprised how open people are very open to receiving the information leaflets about Sunday’s march, with many also signing their name to the group’s email list.

Trans Pride in Turkey

Dear Sarah
Where to find those doggies? so so cute!!
We had two days off for outside meeting, and had fun this week, a little bit tired now.
One interesting thing I would like to tell you, I went to Jay Chou’s concert yesterday at Taipei Arena. It was the first time for me to step in the dome even my office is opposited to that!!
The music and the performance is so so great!! we was screaming with excitement all night!! really a good memory for me!!
This week, Ive learned several words:
1) squint: sample is “He squinted through the telescope.
2) confide in (I learned that from lyrics)
3) nasty means evil? or could be used to describe “tough” (just like base ball players)
4) pluck sample is “I plucked a flower from the garden”
5) drowsy (is that common?) real meaning is?
6) guardian (what kind of situation you might use the word?)
7) could we say”little heart”? I heart that from one friend…but I just wondered if it is correct.
8) tie down (learned it from lyrics) 

also, I had my hair cut, quite cute, but Im tired tonight and not appropriate to take the photo :P

So tired tonight!!
Hope you still keep ejnoying your delightful traveling time.
Talk to you next week^^

your cute and “nasty” student
Cathy

Istanbul Trans Pride 2010

Here’s the press release for Istanbul’s first Trans Pride:

———————————————————————————-

To the press and public,

Trans-pride week will be held in Turkey for the first time this weekend from June 11-13.  Organized by the Trans-rights groups Istanbul LGBTT, Women’s Door, EHP’s LGBTT the event is drawing attention to discrimination and human rights violations against the Turkish Trans community.  In the past year, violence towards transvestites and transgenders has been escalating considerably.  As there is no anti-discrimination legislation that allows these actions to be classified as hate crimes, we are pressuring the government to alter the law and see these actions as hate crimes based on gender identity.

The Minister of State has classified members of the LGBT community as ‘mentally sick.’  The fact that the state has made these statements has only fueled hate crimes, oppression and discrimination against LGBT people.  In Istanbul, just last Saturday, a transgender woman was beaten by 5 men, the month before another woman was killed, and it is the same story in Turkey’s other major cities of Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, Denizli, and others.  It is a further crime that the people who have killed and hurt members of the transgender community have received mitigated sentences.  When transgender activists from Pink Life in Ankara tried protesting these actions on the International Day Against Homophobia, they were attacked.

Trans Week is being held to call on members of the LGBT community to stand up in solidarity against this violence, and a government that doesn’t even see these actions as hate crimes.  In a unified voice from June 10 – June 13, 2010 we are reaching out to the Turkish public and members of the International community, so others might be just as outraged by this situation.

Organizations that are supporting this first ever Trans Pride include Istanbul LGBT Civil Society Initiative, the Workers’ Movement Party of LGBTs, Women’s Door Foundation, Lambda Istanbul LGBT Solidarity Association, Pink Life LGBT Association, Voltrans Trans Male Initiative, Cukurova Gay Initiative, Socialist Women’s Assembly, Green Party, and Revolutionary Anarchist Action.

Trans pride week 2010 (10-13 June) Event Schedule

Thursday June 10 – Opening:
13:00 hrs: Press Conference
Location: Istanbul LGBT Civil Society Initiative – Martyrs Muhtar Mah. Citations Yilmaz Cad. Sok ground. No: 18 / 4 Beyoğlu (Back Aga)

19.00 hrs: Street Festival
Location: Galatasaray Square
With the participation of music groups

June 11 Friday – 2 Day:
15.00 hrs: Panel discussion (topics below)
Location: On Stage – Gate Olivya Olivya Han Kat: 4 Galatasaray (Opposite St. Anthony Church, Barcelona Patisserie later)

Concepts – violence
Moderator: Action Contemporary
LGBT Policy Concepts: Hilmi Kaan
Workshop – Gender Roles: Elif Karan
Lesbians: Yılmaz Büşra
Gay: Alpine Uniqueness
Bisexual: Okan Aksu
Transgender Men: İlksen Gursoy
Trans Women: Ian Dickinson

19.00: Short Film Screenings
Location: Green House – Istiklal Cad. Balo Sok. No: 21 / 1 Beyoglu – Istanbul

Trans X – Documentaries – 9 ‘- Director: Maria Binder
380-780 – Short Film – 12 ‘- Director: Sakir Arslan
No Dumb Questions – Documentary – 24 ‘- Director: Melissa Regan

June 12th Saturday – 3 Day:
15.00: Panel Discussion (topics below)
Location: On Stage – Gate Olivya Olivya Han Kat: 4 Galatasaray (Opposite St. Anthony Church, Barcelona Patisserie later)

Right to life
Organization and Employment: Elif Karan (LGBTs Workers Movement Party)
Adult LGBTs: Ebru Kiran pressure (Istanbul LGBT Civil Society Initiative)
Health: Mukhtar Coker (Human Resource Development Foundation)
Mandatory Evacuation in Golden Urban Renewal Name: Elevated Selectin (Green Party)
Korhan Silver (Association for Human Settlements)
Sex Labour: Shawwal Sword (Women’s Gate)

19.00: Theater
Location: Istanbul Bilgi University Campus Kuştepe
‘Ali Cengiz Game’ – Eskisehir other Kültürevi Gender Studies Workshop

June 13, 2010 – Closing:
13:00: Brunch
Location: Green House – Istiklal Cad. Balo Sok. No: 21 / 1 Beyoglu – Istanbul

Walking is great Trans Honor
Location: Taksim Tram Station – Tunel Square
16:30 hrs: Ülker Street meeting – ‘Our brothers are dying for’ memorial
17.00: Taksim tram stop and walk at the meeting

Istanbul Trans Pride 2010 Trans Onur Haftasi

“Not silent, but on the street

Not hiding, but organized

We are walking against hate!”

Turkey’s Transsexual Community: A Day in the Life …

We meet Sevval again the next morning at her morning job with Women’s Door – it’s a developement foundation that helps those in the sex industry with medical and legal aid.  The young lady we saw at the LGBTT headquarters with the bruised face drops by the office, and Sevval translates her story.

Transsexual assult in Instanbul turkey

On June 5, this young woman was working on a street when 5 young guys approached her and began insulting her, when she told them to go away and stop bothering her, they attacked.  She almost reached the entrance of a shop to escape, but they dragged her back and started beating her.  When the police arrived they were not sympathetic, pulling her up by the hair and implying she deserved it.  Two of these young men were under 18.  Today Sevval is using a camcorder to record an interview with her, while Chad takes some pictures that she can provide her lawyer.

There are not many employment options for most transsexuals in Turkey, resulting in nearly all currently working or having worked in the sex industry.  While it is never easy to ‘come out’ for those in the lesbian and gay community, it is not uncommon for post-op transsexuals to find themselves almost completely without options for work.  This has a lot to do with the country’s constitution, which has no anti-sexual discrimination laws.  It is also a key issue that the Istanbul LGBTT group is trying to draw public attention too.