The following article was prepared by Ekin Sanaç for Bantmag on August 16, 2017:

“Another game” where every body can enjoy, “another tribune” where there is no place for discrimination and hate crimes, “another Olympics” where no one is a bean player is of course possible!

Atletik Dildoa, a football team consisting mostly of LGBTI+ individuals and women, has been coming together regularly in Tatavla since 2015 to play matches and speak out against gender discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, heteronormative and male-dominated language and practice of football.

For some time now, Athletic Dildoa has been organizing for an unprecedented event. Queer Olympix, which will take place on August 25-26-27 in Heybeliada and Kalamış, Istanbul, brings together teams from Ankara, Mersin, Istanbul and other cities that have been brought together by the call of the event in a queer sports event that is played in four branches and whose scoring is calculated according to criteria such as discriminatory language, equal passing, team play and evaluation of other teams. Throughout the three-day event, participants and spectators will come together around a carefully put together program including body workshops, panel discussions, film screenings, spectator tournaments and a forum on experiences of being women and LGBTI+ in the city. We listen to the framework of the event, which is counting the days with excitement, from Atletik Dildoa.

How, with what motivations and when did you start organizing for Queer Olympix? Can you tell us briefly?

Being LGBTI+ and a woman inevitably leads us to learn various maneuvers, self-defense techniques and various strategies while using the city. Unfortunately, the restrictions imposed by political and social pressure in the public sphere, especially in recent times, do not allow for the enthusiastic resistances and entertainments we have experienced in big squares… As women and LGBTI+ individuals who have been playing football in astroturf fields in various parts of the city for a while, we asked ourselves if we could create the crowds we miss through sports, if we could establish the sentence “we exist in the public sphere” with sports, and we started the preparations for this event. Believing that sport is one of the ways to liberate our bodies as well as its power to unite the masses, we want to create the possibility of this experience together and for the first time!

Which sports will the event include and how will the tournament system work?

Since this is our first time organizing an event and we have limited resources, we can actually call it a “semi-Olympics”. We bring the participating teams together under four branches: soccer, beach volleyball, relay and long jump. Teams consist of a minimum of seven and a maximum of ten people. There will be seven people on the field in soccer, four in beach volleyball, and three each in relay and long jump. In soccer and beach volleyball all players will take part in the games with no substitution limit, but in the relay and long jump three predetermined athletes will compete. The score totals in these events will be added to the team scores according to our predetermined scoring criteria.

What kind of side events will the participants meet outside of the tournaments?

We have prepared a full program for three days, even we are surprised! The first day of the event will take place in Heybeliada and we will organize a bike tour, a yoga workshop and a picnic on the island. Of course, we will also jump in the sea and cool off!

The next two days will take place in Kalamış and will include a forum on the Experiences of Being a Woman and LGBTI+ in the City, a conversation about the discrimination LGBTI+s face in sports from the perspective of LGBTI+s and their families, a presentation on the ideal body and healthy society in Nazi Germany, A self-defense, violence and body discussion workshop based on the Feminist Fight Club Muay Thai experience, Body Affirmation Workshop, Sign Language Workshop, Cheer Without Swearing Workshop, Self Defense Workshop, Mini Castle Spectator Tournament, 3 Ball Spinning and Zumba with Kids, Frisbee Workshop, Spectator Beach Volleyball Tournament are waiting for those who come. In addition to these, we want to enjoy every field of sports and liberation with various activities such as table tennis, jump rope, dodgeball.

The sports events in Queer Olympix will be based on playing games, recognizing space and having fun. Can you elaborate on what kind of “rules” will guide the games? What guided you in determining the organization for the games?

From our previous experiences, we have seen that determining success only on the basis of score leads to the loss of the essence and fun of sports. We thought about how to change the competitiveness in sports and at the same time the industrial, sexist and discriminatory language of sports and developed a scoring system based on various criteria. While equal passing, giving importance to team play and scoring goals will positively affect team scoring, hate speech, discriminatory language (we believe that heteronormative/male-dominated and discriminatory language must change) and rough and dangerous play will negatively affect scoring. Teams will also award points to each other.

We wanted to reward the importance of team play rather than individualism in team sports and the beauty of this team play experienced by each athlete, passing and sharing. We wanted no one to be the “bean player” in the neighborhood team.

Queer Olympix is not limited to participants from Istanbul. What kind of participation is there from Istanbul and outside Istanbul? Will the event also host guests from outside Turkey?

Sportif Lezbon from Ankara and Maumma from Mersin will be with us. Likewise, the Lezyonerler, Pride Mafia, the Counter League karma and Atletik Dildoa teams from Istanbul will take part in Queer Olympix.

From abroad, four of our friends from Serbia, Italy and the Netherlands will join us. Unfortunately, due to various problems, our friends from France cannot come. At the same time, the LGBTI+ refugee team, which we thought of as one of the teams at the beginning of the event and which we met through SPoD, will not be among us because their good news came and their process of going to Europe started. So they will not be at Queer Olympix, but they will be in a more exciting process!

We will also create two separate mixed teams for participants who cannot play in a team or who want to play in a team but cannot find a team. You can also apply to Queer Olympix to take part in these teams.

We are also organizing mini castle football and beach volleyball tournaments for our spectators who get enthusiastic watching us and say “I think I should try it too”. Let’s not leave any excuse to avoid sports!

Finally, what can those who want to support Queer Olympix do?

They can follow our social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram) and contact us to participate in the events and get more information. Those who want to take part in the organization as a volunteer can make a volunteer application. Of course, you are also welcome to visit our booths in the event area in Kalamış.

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