Public attacks of gay couples, muggings and homophobic groups disrupting Pride parades are just some of the types of violence LGBTI people in Greece face.
Violence against the LGBTI community still outnumbers all other kinds of violence in Greece. But in some good news, the number of attacks dropped last year.
Greece’s Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN) documented violence faced by various groups. They looked at the levels of violence against migrants and refugees, to human rights defenders and LGBTI people.
RVRN found racist violence and hate crime ‘continue to plague Greece’.
Disturbingly, the RVRN found a growth in pre-meditated violence. It found attackers seem to be acting on instructions given to them by organizations.
‘The RVRN alarmingly observes an increase in the number of assaults committed by groups employing “hit-and-run” like practices,’ the report said.
Despite the violence the RVRN discovered ‘the coexistence of opposing trends in Greek society’.
‘On the one hand, the presence of groups with xenophobic ideologies and acts of organized violence against organizations of refugees, immigrants, LGBTQI and their defenders was strengthened,’ said RVRN’s assistant coordinator, Tina Stavrinaki.
‘On the other hand, the authorities have developed clearer and faster responses.’
LGBTI violence underreported
Another study is needed to understand why violence against LGBTI people dropped last year. But the RVRN noted there was a lot of underreporting of LGBTI violence across Europe.
Colour Youth is a LGBTQ youth community group in Athens. At last year’s Pride parade, ‘particularly well-built’ men dressed in military gear turned up to intimidate members of Colour Youth.
They attacked them verbally and spread homophobic pamphlets with messages such as, ‘Pride means integrity, NOT beavers in dresses’.
A representative of Colour Youth, Thanasis Theofilopoulos, wanted authorities to make it easier for the LGBTI people to approach them.
‘Authorities and trade unions (must) take measures to help LGBTQI persons speak out more easily and get the support they need,’ he said.