The Athens’ municipality has announced plans to take decisive action against sexual discrimination and to protect LGBTIQ+ communities.
The city’s overhaul is designed to put an end to violence, harassment and abuse perpetrated against individuals because of their identity, gender and sexual orientation.
“Everyone should feel safe and free to be themselves,” Athens’ Mayor, Kostas Bakoyannis says, highlighting the need for an inclusive and more open society.
Tasked with a strengthened advisory role, Athens’ Department of Equality Policies & Discrimination of the Social Solidarity Directorate will supervise efforts to prevent discriminatory practices and the marginalisation of LGBTIQ+ communities in the city.
A dedicated committee will work with civil society organisations to further support the new strategy and propose targeted actions to tackle different forms of violence, from xenophobia to gender-based criminal acts.
“We are fully aware of the difficulties that LGBTIQ+ people experience in their daily lives,” says Bakoyannis. “They should be able to speak and express themselves as they wish about their sexual orientation, identity, gender expression and characteristics, without feeling disrespected or threatened.”
Launched on 3 August, the initiative will also include awareness-raising training for local administration staff.
“At the Athens municipality we start from home. Support and acceptance begin with us. Changing people’s mindset requires perseverance, a holistic approach and collective effort,” Bakoyannis says.
The initiative is rooted in Europe-wide programmes that in recent years have paved the way for sexual and gender equality reform across the continent such as the EU’s LGTIQ Equality Strategy and the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in local life.