Homosexuality, a common thing in ancient Greece, is starting to see a rise in homophobia in present day Greece. This is partially due to the Golden Dawn Party (a topic covered by Erin Gregory, one of EuroKulture’s writers. Articles on the party can be found here and here), though homosexuality has never been fully accepted. In the early 2000’s a television station in Greece was fined 100,000 Euros for displaying two men kissing. The party, recently elected into the Greek parliament, has been feeding off the fears of Greeks to further their political power.
“Over the last year there is a clear increase in antigay attacks. The perpetrators now act in seeming impunity and although we are not always able to name them as members of the Golden Dawn, their attacks follow the same patterns of the Golden Dawn’s attacks against migrants. These people hate migrants, gays, foreigners, women. They hate everyone” – Andrea Gilber, Spokesperson of Athens Pride.
The attacks, mirroring early Nazi attacks on the ‘socially undesirable’ in Germany, are stating to creep into the areas that gay community members used to feel safe. One of these events happened as recently as November when 12 men dressed in all black, claiming to represent the Golden Dawn party, attacked people distribution anti-hate fliers. This took place in an area of Gazi, known for it’s gay friendly atmosphere.
Greek supporter of homosexuality waves a rainbow flag
As member of the homosexual community, these events are terrifying. Driving people to have zero display of public affection, I can only imagine the constant cloud of fear covering daily life. While LGBTQ laws occupy employment policies, not helpful with a 25% unemployment rate, no laws protecting civilians from hate crimes and attacks exist. I think this lack of law plays a part in the ‘we represent the Golden Dawn party’ attacks.
Attacks climbed to an average of two per month, but this fact comes from reported attacks only. Most go unreported out of fear of further discrimination and hate. In a recent EU survey, 46% have said that gays, lesbians, and bisexuals face discrimination, at the same time, 46% said that they never do. Disclaimer: this was the same as the last time the survey was conducted 3 years ago.
Above: Reactions to recent rise of Greek homophobia
One attack, made on Stefanos Agelastos, happened while walking a friend to the bus stop. Two men on motorcycles pulled up and asked if they were gay, Stefanos replied that he was, his friend was not, but both were attacked. Stefanos managed to get his phone and call the cops, though the incident was just reported and the attackers were never caught. “People just ignored what was happening. Only a shop keeper from Pakistan and a drug user who was wandering in the street came to help”. Was it the fear of association with the ‘undesirable’ that drove people to not help or were they in support of the attack?
In a county where legalization of gay marriage and acceptance of homosexuals is on the rise, ‘difficult’ does not begin to describe how it feels for me to read this and not feel a surge of anger. <Insert VERY long rant about how homosexuality should be accepted here. You don’t want to read a rant.>.
Two questions come from this post for me, what does this mean for homosexuality in the surrounding countries and Europe as a whole? Does this ‘feeding off fear’ have enough of a foot hold in Greek society to give the Golden Dawn party enough power to start a new Nazi era?