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National Council of Radio and Television : Remove transsexuals from the Media

in GREECE, 05/05/2010

Press release of Greek Transgender Support Association condemning the National Council of Radio and Television (NCRT) for imposing a 20.000 Euro fine on the Star Channel show, "Fotis and Maria Live", which hosted the transsexual writer and actress, Betty Vakalidou

The GreekTransgendered Support Association directly and firmly condemns the National Council of Radio and Television (NCRT), for its new decision by which it imposes a 20.000 Euro fine on the Star Channel show, "Fotis and Maria Live", which hosted the transsexual writer and actress, Betty Vakalidou.

In that show, Mrs Vakalidou spoke of her work as a writer, referred to her part as an actress in a film and spoke of her personal experience as a transgendered woman, in a dignified manner while, as the NCRT itself recognises: "we note that [Mrs Vakalidou] herself was very discreet and serious and without being provocative in what she said".

According to the rationale of the decision of the NCRT: "one wonders whether the contents of her interview, because she referred to her personal experiences and the reactions of her family and people in general concerning her change of sex and transsexual women, was not hard to conceive and understand for the underage spectators, given that this issue was alien, maybe even unknown to them, or at least to most of them, and for this reason could have influenced them in a negative manner."

Later on we can read that:

"... the issue of homosexuality (the sexual preference for individuals of the same sex) and of sex change with or without surgical intervention that was presented by the show being examined constitutes a social issue and a reality that pertains to a small group of people. It constitutes a condition that is beyond the normal and for that reason it sounds strange to a great degree to the underage spectator... The presentation of information about the love life of homosexual individuals or transsexuals, about the sex change procedure and the feelings and experiences of the woman being interviewed, could possibly influence negatively the underage spectators..."

Furthermore, on a following paragraph it is mentioned that: "the at length presentation of this issue and the portrayal of transsexuals as normal individuals who are integrated smoothly into society from a mass medium of information (television) and at a time when afternoon spectators, underage or not, are watching unheeding and unsuspecting of the possibility of transmission of such complex and complicated, from an organic, social and moral point of view subjects, could possibly have a negative effect on the development of their personality".

It is made absolutely clear that the NCRT with this decision, following a tradition of similar decisions of the past, wishes the complete eradication and exclusion of transsexual men and women from the public dialogue, and the Mass Media.

Moreover, the last paragraph cited herein is cynical and revelatory of the NCRT's thinking: what is condemned in the decision discussed is any attempt at integration of the transsexual minority, one of the most marginalised groups of Greek society, which is excluded from the workplace and suffers discrimination in every aspect of its everyday existence, even in the securing of housing.

The NCRT, as an independent authority instead has the duty to serve the Constitution and the principle of equality by protecting minorities and not to attempt to gag them and further marginalise them.

This decision of the NCRT turns us back to the darkest times when difference in every shape or form was excluded from public life. It gives a clear directive of exclusion from public life of homosexual and transgendered people, by penalising through the imposition of a fine their very presence (and if it had the ability, it might even fine their every drawn breath).

The Greek Transgendered Support Association denounces the National Council of Radio and Television for racist, homophobic and transphobic behaviour and requests the revocation of the decision which is in breach of every notion of the equality principle and the European legislation against discrimination.

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