Raised in rural Greece, queer artist and author Sam Albatros remembers how his mother tried to comfort them about the bullying to school.
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“My mother said, ‘Don’t worry, when you grow up you’ll marry a woman, have children and teach them.’ … The worst part is that she said that to comfort me.” said Albatross.
Last year, Albatross (his stage name) published ‘Faulty Boy’, a book that describes the challenges facing gender queer children in Greece, a largely conservative country where the influential Orthodox Church teaches. that being gay is a sin.
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“Of course, I felt the pressure to change,” Albatros said, wearing a stage name and a bright black mask to make sure the book isn’t tied to a particular identity.
Greece banned so-called conversion therapy for minors this month, practices aimed at suppressing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and allowing health experts and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to everyone has been condemned as psychologically harmful and unethical.
Canada, New Zealand and France criminalized conversion therapy earlier this year, joining a growing number of countries to outlaw the practice.
Prime Minister Mitsokakis, who is trying to break with the traditional image of a Conservative leader and is facing elections in 2023, last year appointed a committee to draft a national improvement strategy. LGBTQI + rights.
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“I know there’s a lot left to do,” he said on May 17, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. “Modern Greece has the will, the maturity, the heart and the soul to cover the lost ground.”
The government has also rejected a ban on blood donations by gay men and has been training officials on LGBTQI issues, said Mitsotakis chief economic adviser Alexis Patelis.
The Greek LGBTQI + community has welcomed the reforms of the last decade, including the possibility of same-sex civil partnerships in 2015 and the legal recognition of gender identity in 2017. But many believe they have shown Half made, half done.
In practice, the recognition of gender identity is a complex judicial procedure and problems of discrimination arose during the pandemic. Same-sex couples cannot marry or adopt children.
The ban on conversion therapy excludes adults, who require their consent, a measure that LGBTQI + advocates say effectively legalizes what the United Nations has said could lead to “torture.” It also limits professionals to paid health professionals when they are often led by religious and other counselors.
“Unfortunately, in Greece, all the reforms that have been approved (by parliament) are half, incomplete, with very dangerous loopholes and loopholes,” said Parvy Palmou, a non-binary and gender queer psychotherapist for the Support Association. Transgender of Greece.
The government also plans to ban unnecessary “sex normalization” surgeries on intersex babies born with atypical chromosomes that affect their body in a way that doesn’t fit the normative definitions of male or female.
“They must be able to decide for themselves at the right age whether and when they will perform any operation knowing the consequences and alternatives and not injure their body and soul irreparably,” said Rinio Simeonidou, mother of a intersex teenager and intersex member. Greece, a group that supports about 250 families with intersex members.
He told Reuters that 13 years after their own experiences, doctors were still advising mothers of intersex fetuses to terminate their pregnancies.
Surveys conducted this year by the Eteron and Dianeosis institutes showed that most young Greeks support key LGBTQI + reforms. But the opposition remains.
This month, seven priests wrote to Mitsotakis protesting against a television ad about same-sex marriage: “Christians … know that God created two sexes, male and female. There is no third sex, “they said in a statement.
Making “Greece a better place for everyone” is the government’s goal, Patelis said. But for Albatross, who lives in London and has won hundreds of admirers for his art, returning home is not a plan at the moment.
“I still don’t feel comfortable here,” they said. “I’m very sorry to have to fight for things that I think should be a fact.”
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