This year's Istanbul Pride takes off online amid COVID-19 pandemic

Istanbul's 28th LGBTI+ Pride week started on June 22 with a week-long schedule, entirely planned online. After having been banned for the past five years, the Pride march will also be carried out digitally this year. The theme of the Pride week is "Where am I?" focusing on safe spaces for queers during the COVID-19 pandemic and immigration.

Duvar English

Istanbul's 28th LGBTI+ Pride week started on June 22 with a series of workshops, discussions and events scheduled online throughout the week to avoid further spreading COVID-19.

The event's 2020 theme is "Where am I," focusing on the safety of the COVID-19 isolation period for queers, migration from the point of LGBTI+ individuals and queer immigrants within Turkey's LGBTI+ movement.

"We put on our lipstick, the nail polish is done; the strap-ons are on and the stache is dandy; some are hairy some are shiny, some of us are fags and some pimps. The masks are colored... Today like every other day, we saw the bridge in the sky with its seven colors! #whereamI," tweeted the official Twitter account for the Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride week on June 22.

Having been banned for the past five years by the Istanbul Governor's Office, the 28th Pride March will also be organized digitally, although the organization hasn't released details of the event yet.

The annual Genetically Modified Tomatoes LGBTI+ Phobia Awards will also be "awarded" during Pride week to the most homophobic, bisexual-phobic, transphobic, intersex-phobic and plus-phobic narratives of the past year.

One of the week's panels will focus on the safety risks LGBTI+ individuals might face when they have to return to their registered addresses during the mandatory COVID-19 isolation, possibly being condemned to stay in a home with unaccepting or violent parents.

Some of the other panels will explore living with HIV in the present, being a "lubunya" in Turkey (a Turkish word for a feminine-presenting man) and the experience of Turkish queers above 40.

Focusing on immigration and migration following the year's refugee crisis at the Turkish-Greek border, multiple panels will explore queer immigration stories.

Over 5,000 migrants still waiting at Turkey-Greece Border to crossOver 5,000 migrants still waiting at Turkey-Greece Border to cross