Taksim swirls in rainbow colors. The Samba Protest Band beats drums, shakes tambourines, strikes cow bells. Daniela decked out in a hot-pink boa, yellow, pink and green feathers like a bouquet in her wild black curls beats a Latin syncopation; Ruzgar, the 22-year-old trans Rasta, who used to call herself my “mother” (until she wrote me an email one day giving me the news that my “mother” had decided to stop shaving her/his beard and go through the world as a man and consequently was now my “father”) pounds a daval with big mallets, whistles, gestures and leads the Samba band, his beautiful face covered with multi-colored sparkles. Men dressed in fishnet stockings, tiny cupey doll skirts, rainbow-colored headdresses strut as the parade makes its way from the square along Istiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue). Lesbians with painted on twirling black moustaches and ballet tutus whoop and clap. One man wears a Mexican sombrero. One girl is dressed in a garish Thai costume. The street is awash in rainbow color and gay drumming, whoops and dancing and big smiles. From the terraces along the avenue people wave and cheer, some waving rainbow flags.
For today Istanbul is a celebration of diversity.
istanbul gay pride march sunday june 26