■ The march in Konur Street, Ankara.
Despite widespread homophobia and discrimination, as evidenced in a report released today by Human Rights Watch, UKGayNews says that "a little bit of gay history was made in the Turkish capital on Saturday afternoon" where LGBT activists staged their first ever Gay March to mark International Day Against Homophobia:
Over 100 gay men and women, bisexuals and transgender people assembled in front of the human rights monument in Yuksel Street for a march to Parliament on International Day Against Homophobia jointly organised by Kaos Gay and Lesbian Association and Pink Life LGBTT Association.
Joining local activists were Michael Cashman MRP, the president of the European Parliament’s all-party Intertroup for gay and lesbian rights, and Dutch feminist and author Anja Meulenbelt.
The march encountered minor difficulty. The police, who outnumbered the demonstrators, stopped the march and demanded that the rainbow flags and banners be taken down.
Marchers agreed and were then allowed to continue. There were not other problems.
“I found these two days and in particular the march deeply moving,” said Mr. Cashman.
“There were barely one hundred of us, and it was a reminder to me of how we in countries like the UK take our rights for granted.
“Those Turkish women and men on that march are heroes and warriors who are prepared to put themselves on the front line to achieve equality. I will never forget them and our sense of solidarity.”
Mr. Cashman also spoke at Friday’s conference on LGBT rights and IDAHO where he said that with “courage and conviction”, equality will become a reality.
Earlier on Friday, Mr. Cashman had a meeting with The Queen, UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband and the Prime Minister of Turkey. The Queen was on a state visit to Turkey.
■ Kursad Kahramanoglu (former ILGA-Europe general secretary), Michael Cashman and Anja Meulenbelt (Dutch feminist author)
*photos - by Ismail Alacaoglu, courtesy KAOS GL, via UKGayNews