Today, the 17th of May, is the International Day Against Homophobia.
What is Homophobia?
Homophobia is a word invented by psychologist George Weinberg to define the unjustified and irrational fear, the intolerance and the hate for homosexual, bisexual and transgender people. It shows feelings, thoughts, prejudice and behaviours that could be changed in abuses and crimes.
How does homophobia come into our life?
The important thing is that nobody is born a homophobe, but they become through education and the messages passed from family, politics, church or media. When still a child, we digest values and beliefs showing us what’s right. As a result, we start to internalise fundamental convictions about gender roles. For example, before knowing the meaning of homosexuality, children receive heterosexual information that could underline the thoughts that a homosexual orientation is wrong, unnatural, and contrary to everyday life.
In addition, the fear of “diversity” is all along inside the human soul. History teaches us that minority people have always been discriminated against for their skin colour, religion, or sex, and they received oppression, wariness, and contempt.
A relevant factor because an individual could be a homophobe is his narrow-mindedness and ignorance.
Why do we celebrate this day on the 17th of May?
On the 17th of May 1990, The World Health Organisation abolished homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses. Louis-Georges Tin, the administrator of the Dictionnaire de l’Homophobie, thought of this day. The goal is to promote international events to raise awareness and prevent homophobic behaviours.
How does the legislation change?
Laws changed in the last years, and Greece became one of the most liberal countries in Southern Europe. Anti-discrimination laws in all workplaces have existed since 2005, and in 2015, parliament approved civil unions for homosexual couples. As a result, LGBTO culture is lively in Athens, Thessaloniki and the Greek islands like Mykonos for example.
Despite the law advancing, abuses continue to exist, and the freedom of homosexual people is limited. It’s the case, for example, of the brutal murder of LGBTO activist Zak Kostopoulos in downtown Athens in September 2018. Zac, 33 years old, died on the street after being beaten by the owner of a jewellery shop and his neighbour and after police mistreated him while he was dying.
Freedom in love has to be mandatory for everybody. No one has to be mistreated just because of love. We must respect fundamental human rights. No one has to hide his personality and his feelings.