Athens, June 19, 2023
Subject: «The GTSA expresses its concern and condemns the increasing attacks against LGBTQI+ people»
The Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA), is a voluntary non-governmental organization that promotes the rights and freedoms of trans, gender-diverse and LGBTQI+ persons in general, as well as sex workers, with this press release, expresses its concern and condemns the increasing attacks against LGBTQI+ persons, which have come to light in recent days and in the midst of an election period.
According to reports and announcements, from the end of May until today, four attacks have already been recorded, three of which concern trans persons and one against a queer person.
Specifically, the first concerns an attack on a trans woman in Protomagia square, in Pedion tou Areos, on 29.05.2023, where the incident was publicized by the organization Proud Seniors Greece (Support Group for LGBTI+ People 50 and Over) , with the trans woman to be hospitalized at “Evangelismos” hospital . Based on the organization’s announcement, on 03.06.2023, the Department for Combating Racist Violence of the Attica Security Directorate located and identified the perpetrator, where a case was filed against him for racially motivated bodily harm, which will be submitted to the AthensDistrict Attorney’s Office .
The second transphobic incident concerns an attack on a trans person, where in the context of Athens Pride, a group of extreme right-wingers in camouflage clothing attacked the trans person . For this specific incident, we have not received any news even though the GTSA with a Press Release calls on the Organizing Committee of Athens Pride to inform about the measures and the procedure they followed regarding the transphobic attack .
The third incident concerns an attack on a trans woman by a group of 15 persons outside her workplace in a well-known nightclub that is inclusive and safe for LGBTQI+ person, with the incident being reported to the authorities and the Department for Combating Racist Violence and the arrest of the perpetrators is pending .
Finally, the fourth incident concerns an attack against a queer person, where while was walking in Kerameikos, a group of young men approached while one of them hit with his hand the queer person saying characteristically “because you are a pervert” .
For the year 2022, the Racist Violence Recording Network, in its annual report recorded a total of thirty-eight (38) incidents of attacks against LGBTQI+ persons, where nineteen (19) incidents were due to gender identity, nine (9) due to sexual orientation and ten (10) incidents due to sexual orientation and gender identity .
To underline that in recent times, the increasing number of transphobic attacks continue to confirm the same social phenomenon of the precariousness of trans perons as shown by the results of the Report, as the attacks are carried out in the public sphere, by one or more perpetrators and in places that are either friendly to LGBTQI+ persons, whether they concern events supporting their rights such as the Pride festival march .
Furthermore, the pervasive homophobic and transphobic speech emanating even from public figures through the mass media plays out a situation of “normalization” of hate speech, with a direct impact on the violation of freedoms and protection of the rights of our fellow LGBTQI people in their daily lives.
According to Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 of the Committee of Ministers to Member States on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity , it emphasizes that:
[…] 6) Such “hate speech” should be prohibited and publicly disavowed whenever it occurs.[…] 7.Member states should raise awareness among public authorities and public institutions at all levels of their responsibility to refrain from statements, in particular to the media, which may reasonably be understood as legitimising such hatred or discrimination. […]
With regard to hate speech, as Decision CM/Rec(2010)5 again underlines, Member states should take appropriate measures to combat all forms of expression, including in the media and on the Internet, which may be reasonably understood as likely to produce the effect of inciting, spreading or promoting hatred or other forms of discrimination against LGBTQI persons and should be prohibited and publicly disavowed whenever it occurs.
In the same direction for hate speech, the Resolution of the European Parliament of 25 October 2018 condemns intolerant speech, hate speech and hate crimes and:
[…] 9. Calls on the Member States to strongly condemn and sanction hate crime, hate speech and scapegoating by politicians and public officials at all levels and on all types of media, as they directly normalise and reinforce hatred and violence in society;
10. Calls on the Member States to take further measures to prevent, condemn and counter hate speech and hate crime; […]
On hate crimes in a Resolution of the European Parliament of 18 December 2019 on public discrimination and hate speech against LGBTI people , it states:
[…] 20. Calls on the Commission to continue working with the Member States to enhance investigation of hate-based crimes, such as crimes motivated by LGBTI-phobia, and support for victims […]its call on the Commission to revise, following an impact assessment, the framework decision currently in force, in order to include incitement to hatred on grounds of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics; […]
As far as our country is concerned, the Conclusion of the Committee on the National Strategy for the equality of LGBTQI+ , points out clear provisions and room for improvement of the institutional framework in terms of dealing with hate crimes and hate speech against LGBTQI+ people as well as dealing with the dissemination, public distribution, production or storage of racist material.
Also, it is worth referring to the decision of the Three-member Misdemeanor Court of Chalkida , a case handled by the lawyer Vasilis Sotiropoulos, which imposed a sentence of sixteen (16) months in prison at first instance on a perpetrator of a crime with racist characteristics that, based on the indictment, concerns Article 82A of the new Penal Code and it was the first time that a court applied 82A P.C. (crime with racial characteristics) on the basis of the victim’s gender identity.
Equally important is the decision in the 8th Single-Member Misdemeanor Court of Athens , -in a case also legally handled by Vasilis Sotiropoulos-, as it is the first conviction pursuant to Law 927/1979 as amended by Law 4285/ 2014, for public incitement to violence, hatred or discrimination based on gender identity. A decision that for us in GTSA a huge victory and has a special weight, as the lawsuit was filed by our memorable President Marina Galanou.
The Greek Transgender Support Association:
a. It strongly denounces the ongoing attacks against LGBTQI+ persons, but also the general climate of transphobia and homophobia that prevails, and joins its voice with all organizations and citizens who are determined to put up a wall against discrimination and attacks motivated by homo-transphobic hatred.
b. It sounds the alarm, calling on the State to take all the necessary institutional measures to combat hate crimes, as well as to immediately proceed with the amendment of the anti-racism legislation, so as to criminalize racist speech in its entirety and not only when it publicly incites violence , but more generally any form of hate speech, while the amount of the penalty in the case of a felony be reinstated and additional measures be taken when it originates from public figures, as well as new regulations to deal with public dissemination, public distribution or production or storage racist material.
c. It declares its undivided and self-evident solidarity with the surviving LGBTQI+ persons, and will stand by them in every possible way.
THE BOARD OF MEMBERS
GREEK TRANSGENDER SUPPORT ASSOCIATION
15 ViktorosUgo, 10437, Athens
Trans Day Reception & Empowerment Center: Evangelistrias 6, Kallithea Athens, 17671
Tel. 210.9210 697 & 698 753 9741
Office hours for the public: Tuesday & Thursday – 12.00-20.00
firstname.lastname@example.org – email@example.com