In Istanbul, tear gas and rubber bullets broke up small groups of brave souls attempting to defy the ban of this year’s pride march. In London, the rainbow flag flies proudly over Tower Bridge, one of the city’s most iconic buildings. Just sayin’.
Happy London Pride today. For those, like us, who won’t be parading down Whitehall, what better way to mark the event than to watch the cast of the Lion King featuring the London Gay Men’s Chorus singing the Circle of Life composed by England’s second biggest queen?
The marching season is in full mince and after the slaughter in an Orlando gay club, Pride has a special resonance this year. Cutting through the noise, it now seems the carnage was the work of a closet case whose religious beliefs fried his brain. He happened to be a fundamentalist Muslim with shameful stirrings but could just as easily have been a fundamentalist Christian with the same sense of self-loathing. That’s the trouble with blind faith, those who fall from grace sometimes lose the plot. Ironically, some from the religious right don’t know who to condemn more, the man or his victims. And, the Second Amendment is a godsend to the trigger happy. Jesus wept.
On this side of the pond, London Pride was heralded by a flypast from the RAF’s Red Arrows and a rainbow flag flew over Parliament. It’s hard to imagine that happening in many capitals around the world.
Predictably, Istanbul Pride was banned again this year. To avoid the brutal oppression of 2015 when everyone was swept from the streets by tear gas and water cannon, Istanbul’s Governor gave plenty of notice. Last year, the holy month of Ramadan was the excuse. This year it was the threat from ultra-nationalist groups. Or maybe the powers that be just didn’t like it. Come the day, a few brave souls turned up anyway and were met by riot police and…well, you can guess the rest. And that was followed a couple of weeks later by an attempted military coup to ‘protect’ human rights and ‘preserve’ Turkish democracy. Since when was democracy ever preserved by soldiers in tanks? Was the coup real or not? Conspiracy theories abound but it was real enough for those who died as a result. Whatever the truth, you can bet your bottom lira life will start getting tougher and rougher for those who won’t or can’t toe the party line. Get thee to a mosque and to Hell with human rights.
Norwich Pride is on the 30th July and the only aggro expected is from a few nutters whispering hell and damnation from the wings. Even the zealous are painfully polite in these parts (as befits the ‘second kindest’ place in the kingdom, according to YouGov research). We’ll be there to wave our rainbow flags accompanied by a couple of old reprobates from the Smoke. We’re praying for a bit of sun – minus the fire and brimstone. I hear we’re to have a beer tent this year, thank the Lord: a first for Norwich Pride and a major step forward in my humble opinion. Cheers!
A happy pride season to one and all, whoever you get down on your knees for.
Photo courtesy of UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor
It’s been a stonker of a year. In partnership with Summertime Publishing, I launched Springtime Books to provide a publishing platform for expat writers and in May, I wrapped up the saga of our emigrey days with the release of Turkey Street. The book birthing was particularly painful. Eighteen months later than planned, I fretted my comeback would be as welcome as another Spice Girls reunion, but the pain eased as the reviews dropped onto the mat. Against the blogging odds, Perking the Pansies continues to trip along nicely with a bevy of fans old and new. Somehow or other, I’ve just exceeded my 1,000th post and 10,000th comment. Not bad, I suppose, for some silly old nonsense. For all these things, I’m nothing if not grateful.
Here are the top of the pansy pops for 2015 – a fine diet of gay pride; righting an old wrong; butts of steel; relationship highs and Turkish lows; murderous intent and loose ends finally tied; the dreaded curse of middle England; bad tempered café society; and a little cottage industry to keep us out of the workhouse.
London Pride | Pardon Me | Catching Crabs | Istanbul Pride, Turkey Shame | Death Duties | Turkey Street Uncovered | Happy Anniversary, Liam | Whinging Brits | Give Us a Quiche | Springtime Has Sprung
London Pride 2015
Istanbul Pride, Turkey Shame
Turkey Street Uncovered
Happy Anniversary, Liam
Give Us a Quiche
As for the most popular image of 2015? Typical!
Here’s looking ahead to more pansy adventures in 2016. Happy New Year to one and all.
Yesterday, at the very last minute, the Turkish authorities banned Istanbul Pride. A peaceful celebration of difference and diversity was savagely dispersed by water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas, the weapons of choice for the Turkish State. Memories of Gezi Park came flooding back. It seems the holy month of Ramadan was the feeble excuse offered up by the Police. Yet, last year’s march also occurred during Ramadan and passed off without incident. Perhaps this was the last hurrah of a president on the skids. I do hope so. Watch the footage of a young man waving a rainbow flag being blown clear off his feet by a water cannon. Is this the image of a modern Turkey President Erdogan wants to convey to the world?
Images courtesy of Occupy Gezi and Twitter
2014 has been quite a year for us and our brethren…
Okay, okay, I tried to make it scan to the tune of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ but failed miserably. Liam’s the musical one, not me. With such a helter-skelter year, I guess it’s it’s no wonder I didn’t get the second book out in time for the festive rush. The good news (or bad news, depending on your point of view) is that it’s with my publisher and will be out in the new year. Liam is hyperventilating at the prospect – my fiercest critic seems to like it. The blog’s done brisk business too with over ninety posts. Here are the top ten hits for 2014 – the usual diet of Turkish delights, smut, divine retribution, emigrey nonsense, men in women’s clothes, internet curios, fine guides and the love that dare not speak its name. I’m nothing if not predictable.
There is Bodrum and Then There is Turkey | The Biggest Cock in Town | The Great Flood | | Gumusluk Travel Guide | Pantigate | The Love Letter | Istanbul Pride 2014 | Desperately Seeking Doreen | Bearded Men in Dresses | Norwich-Over-the-Water
There is Bodrum and Then There is Turkey
The Biggest Cock in Town
The Great Flood
Gumusluk Travel Guide
The Love Letter
Istanbul Pride 2014
Desperately Seeking Doreen
Bearded Men in Dresses
Norwich Over the Water
This was the most popular image for 2014. I can’t think why.
Here’s looking ahead to more pansy adventures in 2015. And the Man Booker Prize. And oh, a few less real life medical dramas would be nice. Happy New Year to one and all.
It’s the summer marching season once again and the ordinary and the extraordinary all around the world are doing their bit for the cause (when they’re not being ostracised, abused, brutalised, beaten, jailed or murdered, that is). It was Gay Pride in Istanbul at the weekend (the largest in the Muslim world) and thousands of people marched along İstiklâl Caddesi (Republic Street), Istanbul’s jugular, carrying aloft a giant rainbow flag. Turkey’s po-faced and increasingly unhinged Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, muttered a few words of disapproval which is a good enough reason as any to shake your booty, out and proud, along the famous street. Unlike some Istanbul demonstrations in recent times, the march ended without incident from the trigger-happy tear-gassers. As the crowd dispersed peacefully through the side streets, some may have passed by the British Consulate, a grand Italianate-style building and once the potent symbol of Nineteenth Century imperial virility. If they looked up, they will have seen the rainbow flag flying out and proud above the building. We Brits often get things oh so wrong (just look at Iraq these days) but now and again, we get things oh so right.
Thank you to Turkey’s for Life for a tweet in the right direction.
The marching season has got off to a splendid start with Istanbul Pride throwing down the gauntlet with tens of thousands of people (some reports suggested 60,000) parading along Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul’s main thoroughfare. This is where Istanbulers come to meet, drink, shop, party and demonstrate. The brave souls carried a giant rainbow flag and, in an unprecedented show of unity, held banners demanding justice and LGBT rights in Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian and Arabic. And for the first time there were also Pride marches in Izmir and Antalya. One of the most popular slogans was “Where are you, my dear? Here I am, darling!” Will the increasingly repressive Turkish Government led by the dour and autocratic Erdoğan listen? Probably not. But, following hot on the heels of the vicious crackdown of the Gezi Park protest, Istanbul Pride goes to prove that it ain’t over ‘till the fat drag queen sings.
Feel the vibe…