Lambda, Istanbul is the largest queer liberation group in Turkey. It was formed by a small number of gays and lesbians as a result of a police ban on Christopher Street Day celebrations in 1993. Since then, Lambda, Istanbul has grown in membership and aims to raise its voice on behalf of the gay communities in Istanbul.
Homosexuality is not a criminal offence in Turkey, but some articles of the highly flexible police regulations can be used very easily to ban meetings and demonstrations on so-called public morality grounds. In 1995 and 1996 Lambda, Istanbul planned activity weeks which would have included gay and lesbian themed films, panels discussions, and exhibitions. On both ocassions, they were banned by the police and the Governor of Istanbul, who claimed they were against public morals.The organizing committee was advised by police not to make any further attempts as the Turkish society was not yet ready for the visibility of homosexuality!
Despite this pressure and opposition, we are
still carrying out our projects:
Our eighth issue of our bi-monthly magazine is out in June1997, it is available in alternative bookstores in Istanbul and in Ankara.
We are on air with a weekly one hour GL radio program on Acik Radio since May 1996. It is the first GL program in Turkey’s history and has enabled us to reach a greater number of people.
In collaboration with the AIDS Prevention Society in Turkey we have prepared the first Safe Sex brochure addressing gay men. The current objective of the AIDS Prevention subgroup of the group is to increase the availability of water-based lubricants as well as safe condoms. A safe sex hot-line project is in process as well.
Despite the serious work we do, we are all volunteers, who come together determined to keep on working against our society’s prejudices, homophobia and Turkey’s anti-democratic law and regulations.
Turkey Gay Guide
Information in Turkish
Latest issue of Lambda, Istanbul's bi-monthly magazine (in Turkish)
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