Pride celebrated online due to COVID-19 across Turkey

Pride celebrated online due to COVID-19 across Turkey

Pride celebrated online due to COVID-19 across Turkey

The colors of the rainbow splashed across Turkey this week not with panels, workshops, forums, screenings and with colorful Pride marches as before, but with nationwide online celebrations and digital activism due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The 28th Istanbul LGBTI+ Honor Week Committee held the traditional Istanbul Pride this year online due to the coronavirus pandemic, with its members asking for the celebration of the week and the march online and to not take the streets. The #OnurHaftası (#PrideWeek) hashtag on Twitter quickly became the country’s number one trending topic.

With the cancelation of many in-person Pride events this year, the organizers have found a creative way to bring together the community. The committee called on those who want to attend Pride online to choose their desired flag, banner and slogan to mark their locations in the country on the event’s website.

Thousands of people marked their locations in Turkey with slogans and banners, which included statements like “Get used to it we are here” and calls for Trans equality, on the map of the country, with many sharing them on social media.

The march, which has been held every year since 2003 on Istiklal Avenue, one the busiest streets of Istanbul, reached its highest attendance in 2014 with the participation of more than 100,000 people.

But since then, authorities have banned the annual Pride march. Attendees and members of the community, however, defied the bans and staged their marches every year.