Cyprus Mail

Gay pride celebrations in north a secret affair

LESBIAN, gay, bisexual and transsexual rights (LGBT) activists in the north staged a ‘secret demo’ earlier this week to coincide with numerous Gay Pride celebrations currently taking place across the globe.

The so-called secret demonstration involved activists placing the LGBT rainbow banners during the night at visible traffic junctions and beach entrances in the coastal city of Famagusta.

In a statement released to the press yesterday, activists said they had chosen their form of ‘secret’ action because it was “still unacceptable to be gay in Turkish Cypriot society”.

“We would have liked to have staged a bustling festival or a parade to express openly who we are and how we’d like to be accepted. Unfortunately, however, neither our society nor our laws allow this,” the press release said.

“For fear of losing our jobs and being alienated by friends and families we can only stage this kind of demonstration and remain hidden in the dark.”

The activists said their rainbow banners had been removed by the authorities “within a few hours”.

Despite numerous attempts by liberal activists and concerned intervention from a number of EU bodies, homosexual sexual acts remain criminal in the north under laws established during British colonial rule.

The law is rarely used but Turkish Cypriot LGBTs feel they are widely discriminated against and that changes in the law would help engender a wider change of attitudes in the community.

“There are still people that believe homosexuality is something we’ll get over. Others see us as a scandal or a sensation to talk about in the media. What we want is to be ourselves and gain the respect that we deserve,” the press statement said, adding that LGBT activists would continue staging events – albeit anonymously – to highlight the fact that northern Cyprus, like anywhere else, has LGBT people.


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