Annual Review 2011
Equality and non-discrimination
In 2011, Greece was reviewed during the UN Universal Periodic Review process and accepted a recommendation to include sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds for protection in anti-discrimination legislation and policies. It explained that the legislative framework will be included in the field of application in implementing the EU Framework Decision 008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law. Greece considered that discrimination based on gender identity falls within the scope of discrimination on ground of sexual orientation. In addition, Greece accepted a recommendation to consider recognising same-sex couples, stating that any relevant decision will be taken after a public consultation on whether or not the Cohabitation Pact should be expanded to include sexual orientation.
- Two same-sex couples were married by the Mayor of Tilos in 2008, on the grounds that Greek Marriage Law does not specifi cally mention the gender of the marrying partners. In 2011, the Appeals Court of Dodecanese upheld a Lower Court decision voiding both of the marriages, ruling that denying marriage to same-sex couples does not violate the principle of equal treatment. The case is now pending before the Supreme Court.
- In addition to the option of marriage, different-sex couples in Greece can enter registered partnerships. As these partnerships are also not available to same-sex couples, four couples filed cases in the European Court of Human Rights alleging that the law violates their human rights, Vallianatos & Mylonas v. Greece (Application No. 29381/09) and C.S. & Others v. Greece (Application No. 32684/09). Both applications are pending.
Freedom of assembly
The seventh Pride event was held in Athens, lasting for nearly a week and culminating in a large Parade. The Athens Pride Festival included parties, art and photography exhibitions, and around 10,000 people participated in the march, nearly doubling the number of attendees from the previous year. The slogan during the Parade, Kiss Me Everywhere, was a response to the Green National Council for Radio and Television’s practice of penalising stations that show same-sex couples kissing.
Human rights defenders
- A new LGBTQI Platform was set up and brought together some 20 NGOs and groups that allows for organised collaborative work in a strategic manner. The Platform began to look for funding to set up an LGBT social centre.
- The Gay and Lesbian Community of Greece (OLKE) received State funding to participate in the Grundtvig Life Long Learning Programme on training people in fundamental rights.
Participation in public/political life
- In May, ILGA-Europe hosted a conference in Greece for Mediterranean LGBTI human rights defenders, on the subject of hate speech, hate crimes, and visibility in society. The event, which was organised locally by OLKE, was the fi rst event bringing together local LGBT NGOs and groups had participated in a conference together outside of Athens Pride, providing an opportunity for cooperation and discussion.
- In November, the Greek Transgender Support Association hosted a two day event dedicated to International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) which was attended by academics, lawyers, politicians and human rights defenders. The event combined remembrance with work on the issues facing trans people on a daily basis. An exhibition by Gabrielle le Roux entitled Proudly African & Transgendered was installed as part of the gathering. At the end of the two days, participants undertook a candlelit march to the Greek Parliament.