This organization was established in 2020 in Corinth (a Greek historical city near Athens) via Facebook and it is the first group that promotes LGBTQIA+ rights in that Greek town openly.
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Why does your organization exist?
There was no LGBTQIA+ organization or group in Corinthia, therefore we decided to create one to show that we exist, give a voice to the local LGBTQIA+ community, and help its members in every possible way.
Did you have any fears or hesitation when you created the LGBTQIA+ Korinthos and Friends? Have you managed to reach any of the goals you had for this community?
We have never thought that creating such a group would be dangerous or a reason to be afraid of. Talking about our vision, we can say that day by day more people learn about our group and approach us, mainly through social media to share their stories, concerns, and thoughts.
Recently, you started a campaign to fight for homosexual marriage and their adoption rights. What made you bring this issue to the spotlight and start a petition? We saw that 19,000 Greeks signed the petition immediately, do you believe that Greece is now more progressive in some issues than in the past?
We are very frustrated by the fact that when it comes to marriage, the Greek state makes discrimination based on sex and recognises marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. Even though no law explicitly says so, this is the tactic the Greek state has followed so far. In 2015, legal recognition of same-sex couple co-habitation was introduced, thus resolving some issues (such as taxation), but still, there are major others to be solved, such as the right of same-sex couples on adoption.
We have the impression that the Greek public opinion is better informed and educated towards human rights than what it was in the past. ILGA ( International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association) shows encouraging results for Greece, LGBTQIA+ rights are more and more portrayed on mass media, the internet has helped immensely on that score and various polls show that most of the population is in favour of same-sex marriage.
What are the main challenges that LGBTQIA members face in a small city like Korinthos?
To our opinion, the biggest challenge is for an LGBTQ person to come out. Since the population is small, almost everyone knows everyone, therefore some people are reluctant to reveal their real identity. Another issue is that no LGBTQIA+ events take place in our area. Athens, a place where such events happen frequently, is 80km away, less than an hour by car, bus or train, but having pride or a relevant festival in our area is something that we miss a lot.
How do you personally deal with homophobic / hate comments on social media?
Homophobia is a great issue and we believe is greatly connected to education. For that reason, we are trying to press the state towards a more inclusive educational system. When it comes to social media we have to ignore and erase racist and hate comments to create a safe internet space for everyone.
What are you hoping to achieve with this community in the future?
Fight racism, promote LGBTQIA+ rights and human rights in general and help more people of the community.
What are the main Greek stereotypical phrases that you wish to be abolished?
Some phrases have to do with the way people behave. For example: “Men do not cry”, “He walks/talks/dresses like a woman”, “She walks/talks/dresses like a man”, “Act like a man/woman”, “Make-up is for girls”.
Some others have the notion of man in their epicentre. For example, the most widely used verb for getting married in Greek means being under the man.
And last but not least, people should learn to use the Greek language in a more inclusive way when it comes to genders. For example, lots of people use masculine nouns and adjectives when they refer to many people. This can be switched to neutral, to include women, genderfluid and non-binary people.
Would you prefer to live in a country that is more open-minded and has equal human rights for the LGBTQIA+ community? What can LGBTQ travellers do to support your community?
Living in a community with more justice and respect for its ideal and this is what we fight for. Some prefer to move to other countries and some to stay. What is for sure, is that we are trying to make Corinthia a better place to live.
We think that reviews in well-known tourist platforms from LGBTQ travellers are very important. Mentioning homophobic behaviour can prevent others from visiting a company or can urge the company to change its behaviour in the future.
Are there any LGBTQIA venues/clubs in your hometown? What are your favourite ones in and out of the country?
So far there are no LGBTQIA venues in Corinthia. The closest is in Athens. People in our group have different tastes when it comes to music or food, consequently, we cannot distinguish one as our favourite.
What have you missed the most about the community during lockdown restrictions?
Socialising. Due to the lockdown, we cannot meet our friends or make new ones and we also must change our activist plans, since gatherings are prohibited.
Images provided by LGBTQI Korinthos for Moonlight Experiences
You can find more about LGBTQI Korinthos here:
Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/lgbtqi_activism/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lgbtqiaActivism
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/413304312962578
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Moonlight Experiences is led by a dedicated queer collective of diverse voices who are changing the perception of queer culture through curated activities and stories from the community. We are using the economic power of LGBTQ+ tourism to tackle the lack of QTIBPOC representation in travel, and help amplify marginalised artists and sustain queer venues.
Find out more at www.moonlightexperiences.com
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Contact Person: Aisha Shaibu