‘Pride’ cast and activists call on Boris Johnson to condemn LGBT+ rights abuse in Turkey
The cast and crew of the 2014 film “Pride” and the activists the story portrayed united once again to denounce the abuse of LGBT+ rights in Turkey, calling on Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to join in the condemnation of the country’s authorities in an open letter issued on Friday.
The letter, signed by director Matthew Warchus as well as actors Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Andrew Scott among others, was issued a few days after LGBT+ activists in Turkey defied the ban on the annual pride parade—which the authorities issued for the fourth year in a row—to march through Istanbul’s streets before the police intervened to disperse the march, arresting at least 11 people.
In late June, a screening of the film “Pride” organised by the LGBT committee of the Turkish Communist Party in the capital Ankara was banned by the city’s authorities, citing concerns for public safety. The ban, according to the letter, was “a chilling reminder that political authoritarianism regards artistic expression as its enemy.”
“That the Turkish authorities should fear the screening of a film that tells this true story is a salutary warning about the present political climate in Turkey,” the letter read, adding: “We send our unshakeable solidarity and support to LGBT+ people in Turkey who are now challenging the ban on LGBT+ events in Turkey.”
Read the full text of the letter below.
“As members of the creative team which produced the 2014 film “Pride,” and activists portrayed in that film, we are disturbed by reports of the growing repression of the LGBT+ community in Turkey culminating in the recent ban of the annual Pride parade and police violence against those who courageously defied the ban.
Reports that the Ankara authorities also banned a screening of the film Pride are a chilling reminder that political authoritarianism regards artistic expression as its enemy. That the ban was imposed on the grounds that the film “incites hatred and enmity” (Telegraph, 2 July 2018) is all the more Orwellian, especially since Pride has already been screened several times in Turkey, including at the Istanbul Film Festival in 2015, to wildly enthusiastic audiences.
As everyone who has seen Pride knows, it is a love story; a simple but powerful tale of how one community under attack from a repressive government extended the hand of friendship to another community threatened with destruction. The bonds of mutual respect and solidarity forged in the 1984/5 strike between LGBTQ+ socialists and mining communities has proved unbreakable. South Wales miners not only led the 1985 Pride march in London, the National Union of Miners was instrumental in winning Labour to a policy of supporting LGBT+ equal rights.
That the Turkish authorities should fear the screening of a film that tells this true story is a salutary warning about the present political climate in Turkey.
We send our unshakeable solidarity and support to LGBT+ people in Turkey who are now challenging the ban on LGBT+ events in Turkey. We deplore the decision of the Ankara Governate in banning the screening of Pride, and call on the Ambassador for Turkey in London, Abdurrahman Bilgiç, and the UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, to condemn the repressive actions of the Turkish authorities.
Neath, Dulais and Swansea Valley Support Group