Annual Review 2013
A wave of violence has left a negative mark on the year. In the wake of the economic crisis which is used as a platform by extremist groups to target several minority groups in Greece, a number of LGBTI activists and supporters have been victims of violence and threats from extremists and supporters of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.
Bias motivated violence
- In October, the Gay and Lesbian Community of Greece (OLKE) recorded six homophobic attacks perpetrated by extreme-right groups and which were reported to the police. Peter Sapountzakis, one of the victims, is an LGBT activist working in the area of homophobia and education. It is reported that the number of homophobic attacks is on the rise due to the increasing social presence of far-right groups, including Golden Dawn, which results in a higher level of hate violence.
- In November, 12 men physically assaulted a group of volunteers distributing anti-homophobic flyers in Athens. The victims were chased in the street. The Racist Violence Recording Network, an initiative of the National Commission for Human Rights, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Greece, and 18 NGOs, claimed that far-right groups such as the Golden Dawn party are spreading hatred against the LGBTI community.
Equality and non-discrimination
- In December, the Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA) reported a case of transphobic harassment and discrimination. The victim, a 25-year-old trans woman, faced problems when trying to register as a student, and was then told not to come to the school but to sit the exams. GTSA reported that the school’s director also tried to intimidate her by using derogatory language and threats of physical violence. The victim was also subsequently harassed by other students.
Freedom of assembly
- In June, the first Thessaloniki Pride took place in the country’s second largest city. However, the Pride Parade was not without incident, as some counter-demonstrators threw eggs and shouted hostile slogans at Parade participants.
Freedom of expression
- In October, the Greek State television NET decided to censor the scene of a kiss between men from the TV drama Downton Abbey, which was broadcast by the channel. The decision was described as “an extreme act of homophobia and discrimination” by LGBTI activists, while the managing director of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation said the decision was only due to “parental guidance warnings.”
- In November, the Greek law on blasphemy was used to charge Laertis Vasiliou, the director of Corpus Christi, a play portraying Jesus Christ as a gay man. The lawsuit for “insulting religion” and “malicious blasphemy” had been lodged by an Orthodox bishop. A few days earlier, Vasiliou had already chosen to close his production, after it had been subject to protest, in particular from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, which participated in violent demonstrations around the theatre, beating up audience members and journalists. Mr Vasiliou and his family also repeatedly received homophobic and racist threats, including through messages to her mobile and home phones. The following is a quote from one of the threats received: “You fucking Albanian, come out and we will bury you alive. We will take your head off. We will cut you in pieces.”
Police and law enforcement
- In August, GTSA reported that the police had detained 25 trans women at the central police station of Athens, without sufficient explanation as to the reason for their detention. The 25 women were forced to undergo HIV tests. According to GTSA, the incident was also representative of problems relating to the protection of personal health data, since the Hellenic Data Protection Authority considered that the publication of the identities of HIV-positive people was not to be considered as a violation of personal data.
- According to Eurobarometer 2012, 65% of Greeks believe sexual orientation discrimination is widespread. This is slightly above the EU27 average (46%). 64% believe gender identity discrimination is widespread. This is slightly above the EU27 average (45%). Greeks scored 4.5 on a scale from 1 (‘totally uncomfortable’) to 10 (‘totally comfortable’) when asked how comfortable they would feel with an LGB individual in the highest elected political position in their country. This is significantly below the EU27 average (6.6). Greeks scored 3.7 on a similar scale when asked about a transgender/transsexual person in the highest elected political position in their country. This is significantly below the EU27 average (5.7).