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Greece: the rise of homophobic violence

Interview with Thanasis Therophilopoulos

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Athens – Greek laws and mainly the structure and values of Greek society fall short to prevent homophobic violence as homophobic hate crimes rise in Athens. In January 2016 we had 30 records. “L’Indro” met Thanasis Theophilopoulos, Project Coordinator of «Tell us» carried out by «Colour Youth», an Athens based – LGBTQ NGO. The project was funded by EEA Grants which are jointly financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway and managed by Bodosakis Foundation in the frame of the project “We are all citizens” managed the project. Currently the NGO is in the search of funds.

 With the slogan “make your experience work”, the project aims to combat discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. The victims record anonymously their experience, used by the organization in order to enable the authorities to take action. Color Youth offers legal and psychological support for free in times of recession, which gives the victims an extra motivation to confess.

According to the “Tell us” research, the number of homophobic attacks in Greece has not eased. Between April 1, 2014 and November 30, 2015, Color Youth reported 101 attacks against 140 people. Ninety-six of the cases were reported by victims themselves. Eyewitnesses showed up in only five testimonies.

The vast majority of the victims reported that that they had suffered some form of violence. Only five reported acts of discrimination. The majority of homophobic and transphobic attacks (fifty-two) were verbal and have took place open air public spaces. There were also incidents of physical violence and a rape case. Fourteen took place at private places such as homes or offices. Nine attacks occurred inside means of transport and an equal number were carried out inside the victims’ homes by another family member. Eight incidents took place in public sector offices, six online and two by phone.

The project gives for the first time the right to eyewitness to testify in order to record the phenomenon of homophobic violence. Unfortunately the turnout was very small and silent witnesses standing silent or even applaud the predators, offering them the nerve to act in public spaces with presence of others.

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