On June 28th, 1969 the Stonewall Riots kicked of the gay rights movement in the US. In 1970 the first gay pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago – today prides are happening all around the world. TQU wants to know who the people are that are organizing todays prides and what the marches mean to them. See all Faces of Pride.
Faces Of Pride:
Lara Özlen || Istanbul Pride
What’s your name and age? My name is Lara Özlen and I am 26 years old.
Since when have you been involved with Istanbul Pride? Since 2016 I have been involved in İstanbul Pride organization. Before that I was a regular in the marches as well until the ban in 2015.
Why do you think Istanbul Pride is important? It is important for us to shout out loud and being more visible since there are no legal regulations in relation to hate crimes or marriage equality in Turkey.
LGBTI+phobia is real and concrete here especially for the individuals who are more visible on the street. For the whole Pride Week we aim to hold a safe place for LGBTI+ individuals which is equally important with the parade. Pride Parade on the other hand is the top level of visibility for many individuals who have been closeted throughout years. We aim to make people more comfortable in their skins and increase solidarity among us.
What is one (or two) remarkable thing(s) that has/have happened at Istanbul Pride? 2014 Pride Parade was the longest and the most crowded March that everyone could see in İstanbul. We assume it was around 30.000 people. It was right after Occupy Gezi, and there were a lot of people from opposition.
What do you do when you are not organizing Istanbul Pride? I’m a freelance video editor at this point cause I studied Film in BA. I also do workshops with refugee children in İstanbul.
What do you like to do in your free time? I like to watch movies (old habits never die), and read.
Is there something you would like to say to the rest of the LGBT+ community? You are never alone, we’re still here in every corner of the city!