Comment: The new Muslim LGBT heroes of Istanbul
At Istanbul Gay Pride 2015 Muslim straight allies put their bodies on the line for LGBT.
This is not the world media headline.
The video and pictures of the police assault on Istanbul Gay Pride are horrible. But the event went on. The police did not stop it, after the assault they stopped and the party carried on.
What forced them to stop their assault was that Turkish members of parliament put their own bodies on the line. HDP and CHP MPs formed a line to stop the assault – some got beaten as a result. The MP pictured, CHP MP Mahmut Tanal, actually climbed onto a Turkish water cannon.
The Turkish opposition parties HDP and CHP had just put forward gay and trans candidates in national elections. The HDP’s election results have deprived the Islamist AKP of President Erdogan of its majority in Parliament. The AKP, led by Erdogan, assaulted the opposition on LGBT rights and they lost. Half the HDP’s new MPs are women. The party is pro LGBT. Its base in Kurdistan is right next to, invaded by, ISIS territory where gays are thrown off buildings.
The Istanbul Gay Pride organisers say their event was banned just before it was to start, with the AKP governor citing Ramadan, despite an event the previous week and that Gay Pride happened in Ramadan last year. Pride has happened for thirteen years in Istanbul minus water cannon. Let us note that a Hizb ut-Tahrir march in Istanbul praising the ‘caliphate’ went ahead on Sunday unmolested.
When the police assault happened straight HDP and CDP MPs formed a line to stop them.
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Some were beaten as a result. But their bodies alongside the (protesting, I assume) presence of US and UK diplomats meant Istanbul Gay Pride continued. The police withdrew.
A little victory happened.
Our straight allies beat the Islamists. Our Muslim straight allies.
This isn’t what you will read elsewhere. I doubt that this photo from Istanbul Gay Pride will be widely circulated >
But the likes of Mahmut Tanal should be recognised, similarly his HDP colleagues. Because they are facing down an anti-LGBT hate like nothing we in the West can recognise. They are heroes.
This post originally appeared on Paul Canning’s blog.