19th Istanbul Pride with Liana Georgi: “They mean nothing but love”

Liana Georgi, as a German citizen who is a musician and lives in Istanbul, attended 19th Istanbul Pride. She walked in front of hundreds of police officers while saying: “Love is here. Hope is here.”  The video of her walk went beyond borders, and became viral on social media. She spoke to Medyascope about her attendance to the Istanbul Pride, how she faced with police brutality, how her walk gained enormous attention and what she is trying to promote by using this attention.

Liana was in Maçka Parkı when the police did not allow the LGBTIQ+ people to have a picnic, attacked them with pepper spray, beat them and took some of them into custody on last Thursday, June 24. After what she experienced there, she was actually feeling scared. That’s why she had decided to leave the Istanbul Pride if police officers attacked. It is also because she did not think of becoming an activist before, she wanted to support LGBTIQ+ through her music and continue to live in Istanbul. So, she thought that if she would not leave when police officers attacked them in Pride, it might harm her long-term plans. However, she could not leave. Instead, she walked slowly in front of hundreds of police officers. She explains this by saying: “I heard from my friends that they were attacked with pepper spray, and some of us got detained, I saw how brave they fight. These people are living their whole life here and they are scared to death, rightfully so, they were still there, they were still on the streets. They mean nothing but love. They just want to say ‘We exist and we deserve to exist’ Then, I said ‘Okay, I have to go there too because this is not something that I can look away from.”

After her video went viral and she got an enormous attention, she decided to use that power and support for something good. Right now, she is trying to inform the whole world about the situation of LGBTIQ+ community in Turkey by her interviews, videos and social media posts. She says: “I am sorry but we exist. LGBTI exists. The streets are ours. We are here and we cannot wait for change because these young people who are full of hope and love are dying here.” That’s why Liana supports a campaign on change.org named “LGBTI+ rights should be added to the constitution of the Republic of Turkish” which attempts to promote basic human rights for LGBTIQ+ people in Turkey.

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