Athens 6 December, 2013
Subject: «Escalating racist and transphobic behavior against the trans schoolgirl and the teacher who supported her».
Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA) denounces with this Press Release the ongoing and escalating hostile, racist and transphobic behavior of the school’s administration against the trans schoolgirl, that is attending classes in a night school in Athens, and also against her teacher who supported her.
Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA) together with “Homophobia and Transphobia in Education” group had in December 2012 publicly renounce the extreme racist behavior of school’s management (you can see details here: https://transgendersupportassociation.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/report-of-discrimination-intimidation-and-racist-violence-against-a-trans-woman-in-education/), and at the same time filed a complaint at the Greek Ombudsman, that gave in its conclusion some positive guidelines for the issue (see more here: https://transgendersupportassociation.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/press-release-greek-ombudsman-issued-positive-recommendations-for-the-respect-of-gender-identity-gender-expression-of-trans-people-in-the-school-environment/) .
However, although the trans student finished the night high school and enrolled in the night lyceum classes, the school’s administration not only did not take into account the Greek Ombudsman’s guidelines, but on the contrary continued adopting this escalating transphobic and discriminatory behavior. More specifically, the student still faces discriminatory behavior because of her gender identity, and is a subject of transphobic harassment and bullying, plus she is further victimized by the Lyceum Head Master who calls her for “apology” without informing her about the nature of her supposedly «misconduct”. At the same time, the only teacher that stood by her side was suspended after a Sworn Administrative Report that did not follow the code of ethics and objectivity procedures.
The Board of Directors of the B’ Section of Secondary Education Teachers Union of Athens stands by the teacher’s side who is now prosecuted simply because she dared to support the trans schoolgirl against the extreme transphobic discrimination she suffered. The Union stated in its complaint that:
COMPLAINT FOR THE DISCIPLINARY PROSECUTIONS AGAINS FELLOW TEACHERS
The Board of Directors of the B’ Section of Secondary Education Teachers Union of Athens expresses its unequivocal opposition to the mass persecutions ordered by the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs and Life-Long Education, by which our colleagues are suspended for trivial causes and without complying with the legal requirements and the presumption of innocence.
Mrs. Androulaki Evdokia, a teacher of the 2nd Night High School of Athens, is a victim of this persecution. She was suspended by the Ministry without a hearing by the Disciplinary Council, much more so shortly before her retirement. This colleague has indeed shown particular sensitivity to the phenomena of social racism in the school she was teaching.
We demand a stop to such persecutions that are aiming only to terrorize and frighten the teachers, and are – at the same time – be harmful to the public education and the democracy in schools.
FOR THE B.o.D
CHAIRPERSON GENERAL SECRETARY
Malagaris Theodore Ganiari Iphigenia
Furthermore it should be noted that the issue of the trans schoolgirl and her teacher was known, throughout this period, but the Ministry of Education typically showed its harmful negligence. Even when a meeting with representatives of LGBT organizations with the Observatory Against School Violence was requested and scheduled, the Observatory’s spokeswoman declined to meet with the representatives when she was informed that there would be a trans woman among them (see more here: https://transgendersupportassociation.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/p-r-13-3-2013.pdf). Finally, a question raised by a group of MPs has never been answered.
Although, many MPs asked for an investigation of the issue and for a punishment of any transphobic and violating the human rights behavior (as it was postulated in writing by Ombudsman Mrs.Kalliopi Spanou) by the majority of the teachers in that school, on the contrary, the one and only teacher that was in line with the Rule of Law was suspended a few months before her retirement. We strongly condemn this development and we note that the official stance of the State further victimizes the trans student and attempts to act as a bogeyman to anyone who will courageously support and respect human rights. This further acts as a “motivation” for everyone that encouraged or participated in the attempted murder of the trans schoolgirl, none of which was punished in an appropriate manner so far, and they nearly succeeded their grisly work in the absence of justice.
Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA) strongly denounces not only the administration of the 2nd Night High School of Athens, and more specifically, the Lyceum School Master who has great responsibilities for this outcome and is unfit to hold his position, but also the illegal persecution of the teacher who defended the schoolgirl’s human rights acting as a teacher in a responsible way.
We declare that legal aid and support will be offered to the schoolgirl and her teacher who face an illegal persecution and a breach in their basic human rights. The case has been assigned to the lawyer and Chairperson of the Hellenic Action for Human Rights – «Pleiades”, Ms. Electra Leda Koutra, as there are serious crimes and felonies committed for which there must be justice.
At the same time, we urge the Ministry of Education:
A) To take immediate steps in order to address –at least- disciplinary procedures against the administration of the 2nd Night High School of Athens and the restoration of the order in this school, so as the trans student will be able to continue her studies without any further harassement.
B) To stop any form of persecution against the teacher who supported the student, as all other teachers should have done.
C) To immediately issue a circular to all schools on ways to combat racism and discrimination on grounds of gender identity and to follow the Greek Ombudsman’s guidelines with consistency.
We draw the attention of the Ministry of Education and make its administration responsible, because if the extreme behavior against the trans schoolgirl and her defenders continue, then we express our serious concerns about her physical and mental health, if not about her very life.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
GREEK TRANSGENDER SUPPORT ASSOCIATION (GTSA)