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2004 Olympics

in GREECE, 22/09/2004

City of Athens Wins a Gold Medal for Homophobia

"Welcome to the Olympic Games of racism and exclusion. If you are heterosexual we will be glad to assist you. If you are gay or lesbian you'd better go back home."

This is the meaning of the answer that is given to the visitors who ask for information about gay and lesbian venues at the information kiosks of the Municipality of Athens. With a concrete directive given to the volunteers of the project "Show them the Athens that you love" in the training seminars, any information about "strip show places, gay or lesbian venues and brothels" is explicitly prohibited!

After the ban on the construction of a mosque for the muslim visitors, after the mass withdrawal of the waif dogs of Athens, after the discussions about hiding the drug abusers and the homelesses, next in this incredible line of exclusions are gays and lesbians. The Hellenic Homosexual Community strongly denounces this practice of racism and discrimination that is imposed to the city with the excuse of the Olympic Games. Allthough in the Games of Sydney homosexuals and transexuals have participated even to the opening ceremony, despite the fact that the IOC decided to allow the participation of transexual athlets to the Games from this year on, in Greece the Games became an alibi for the expression of the worst homophobia by some authorities.

We hope that the claim of "Athens 2004" that these are going to be the best Games ever, will prove true. However in the mind of a part of Greeks and visitors, the Games are already scorned because of these practices. We recommend that the Municipality of Athens and the Committee "Athens 2004" IMMEDIATELY abandon this unacceptable and homophobic behaviour and provide for information for ALL visitors of the city independent of their race, their religion or their sexual orientation. Let us avoid - even at the last moment - another defamation of our country.

If Greece wants to take the occasion of the Olympic Games and present a "modern country profile", then Greece should make efforts to create a real modern profile instead of patching and using tons of make-up on its old and outdated face
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