Greece: Protest against transphobia and homophobia

Greece: Protest against transphobia and homophobia

A successful protest took place on 19 May 2010 in Athens, Greece outside the offices of transphobic and homophobic ESR organization (National Radiotelevision Council).

ESR (National Radiotelevision Council) is an organization set up by the Greek state that oversees the content of radio and television programmes and fines stations that air inappropriate content. However, ESR has made at least seven homophobic or transphobic statements, together with fines against the stations that aired programmes like interviews with transsexual women, Straight Story, etc.

Today a protest outside the headquarters of ESR took place to denounce their homophobic and transphobic views. ESR has made 7 homophobic statements and fines against stations.

The protesters put on print-outs of ESR's statements outside its offices on their building on Amerikis 5 street, and their last transphobic statement was put on their glass doors.

ESR had instructed the entrance security officer to keep the door locked for as long as the protesters remained ouside... this, too, shows their transphobia.


This is the text of the call out before the protest:

ESR issued fines against television stations for 1) airing the Straight Story movie (a Greek comedy with gay-related content), 2) for the appearance of Betty Vakalidou, a writer who experienced transsexualism, at an afternoon programme.

ESR's statement says that "homosexuality and gender changes... are only relevant to a small number of people. It is a situation which is outside normality". Even ESR in its statement admits that the programme where Betty Vakalidou appeared was not offending. We remind the reader that in everyday anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi, trans) comments on television, ESR has never made any statement in their support.

- is against any notion of freedom of expression and equality
- is against its own rules, as it has the responsibility to protect homosexuals
- ignores a landmark ruling by the State Council (StE) which says that LGBT people "are a social reality" and have the right to express themselves, and therefore Greek television channels are allowed to show LGBT people, which was a ruling which cancelled a past homophobic fine issued by ESR.
- promotes homophobia
- shows that it wants a society where everyone is a slave to the heteronormative culture. It wants a society without "irregular" people, a totalitarian and unfree society.

Athens Pride answers with their 2010 message: WE ARE EVERYWHERE. We are on television, just as we are in your everyday life.

Note: A media statement was issued by the Transgender Association of Greece and the Gay and Lesbian Community of Greece (OLKE)

- text by the Queertrans Group.

On Wednesday 19 May 2010 at 12:00 o'clock we protest outside the ESR headquarters at Panepistimiou and Amerikis 5 street corner in Athens.

Media statement - STOP HOMOPHOBIA

On 17 May 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its catalog of psychiatric conditions. To remember this day, in the last few years 17th May is the World Day against Homophobia, recognized by the European Parliament.

Greece is one of the most homophobic countries in Europe:
- Greek law does not recognize any rights to homosexual couples
- according to official EU statistics, 64% of Greeks think that discrimination against citizens based on their sexuality "is very or moderately widespread"
- Only 17% of Greeks have lesbian or gay friends
- LGBT people in Greece have 26% less chance in being considered for a job
- Official homophobia, such as the ESR statements and from the Church of Greece, is also widespread.

What drives homophobia is IGNORANCE: society has no contact with lesbian and gay people and therefore homophobic stereotypes and behaviours are aplified. As long as we accept ourselves and cease hiding in the closet, we allow the wider society to come in contact with us. This is what our Festival supports this year, with the motto-reality: WE ARE EVERYWHERE.

Protest outside ESR HQ: Wednesday 19 May, 12:00.

Athens Pride