Holding Organization: Colour Youth - Community of LGBT young people of Athens
Status: non-profit organisation People involved in the project: approximately 70 official members of the organisation, plus many friends and supporters Public partners: NO Private Partners: NO Sources and links: http://www.colouryouth.gr/ info à colouryouth.gr https://www.facebook.com/ColourYouth
The idea: The idea was to create a group to fight outdated perceptions and stereotypes of young LGBT people in Greece. This group also seeks to promote policies for equal rights in education, health, employment and everyday life of LGBT people.
The local context: The situation of LGBT people in Greece remains problematic, since the marginalisation and devaluation of people with different sexual orientation or gender identity is a usual practice. There is an incomplete legal framework to recognise and protect these people’s rights. There is an anti-discrimination law when it comes to employment and also a law to do with hate speech as well, but this hasn’t really been used in practice. The starting point: After the Athens Pride of 2010, 4 volunteers met to debrief the day of the festival and discuss issues related to homophobia, prejudices and preconceptions of Greek society. Although the existing Athens Pride, the largest LGBT Pride event in Greece, was already six years in action, and despite the actions of concerned NGOs, the situation in Greece remained bad. They decided therefore that it was necessary to establish a group, with a purpose to fight outdated perceptions and stereotypes and to appeal to young men and women. This group in question is the Colour Youth.
Steps and development of the action:
Autumn 2010: First discussions around the creation of the group January 2012: Official recognition by the State
How does it work?
The group meets once a week in a shared space to discuss its activities. They have 3 basic pillars: 1. to support their members legally, psychologically and socially 2. to act on a social level to raise awareness on LGBT issues 3. to act on a political level to establish equal rights and protection of human rights So far they have organised some workshops for the members on subjects about the biological gender, the social gender, religious dialogue on LGBT subjects and health issues, such as AIDS. In collaboration with other agencies and activists, the group carried out most recently a campaign for the International Day against Homophobia.
Added value of the project and making resources available:
Social benefits: it gives young LGBT people a sense of “belonging” and empowers them to “come out”. It also gives them strength and pushes them to react dynamically to hostilities in everyday life. Shaping policies: It is struggling for the rights of LGBT people in education, employment and health. Moreover, it is working for the elimination of bullying in schools and in making LGBT people visible in Greek society.
The biggest difficulty is that LGBT people appear invisible to Greek society. Despite the steps that have been taken, Greece is a homophobic and conservative country, where the rights of LGBT people are not respected. In addition, LGBT students are very often victims of bullying, but there has so far been no official recording of this injustice. On the contrary, in this particular epoch, with the emergence of a specific political and social climate in Greece, the reconstruction of the LGBT movement appears to have found a solid base to unite as well as to realise and assert its demands.
While it works on 6-month workplans, the organization is currently drawing up a longer term-strategic plan. Colour Youth’s work involves the struggle on a political level for a legal framework that sets equal rights for LGBTQ people. Moreover, it aims for LGBTQ people to become “visible” in Greek society and for society to have an “open mind”, staying critical towards heteronormativity.