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November 16, 2020 - What is more likely to solve the Cyprus issue or to have an openly gay president?
Kevork and Enzo

What is more likely to solve the Cyprus problem or to have an openly gay president?

Although more or less we know the answer, a conversation with the President's adviser on LGBTI issues Costas Gavriilidis is always revealing to our not-so-tolerant society

The former president of ACCEPT LGBTI Costa Gavrielides he came under fire from various quarters (even his own) when he took over as advisor to the President on issues of Multiculturalism, Acceptance and Respect for Diversity, don't you leave active activism for a bureaucratic, vague and quite shadowy (albeit unpaid) government post, right?

But once an activist, always an activist, and Costas continues to fight for his beliefs, which always remain the defence of diversity, through his new post even if he risks being crushed in the cogs of the bureaucratic monster he hears in the name of governance. You see, Mr Gavriilidis's duties include not only informing the President about matters of competence but also coordinating all the Ministries that may be involved in them. And that's where things get tough. 

A discussion with Costas Gavriilidis will inevitably revolve around ISSUES of LOAKI and respect for diversity, so when there is racism and homophobia around us, when our fellow human beings receive insults, bullying, threats and even physical violence about skin color, origin or sexual orientation, humor and fun are not exactly the first things that come to mind. That's why maybe this Lunch Break Challenge came out a little more "serious" than usual, but that doesn't mean we didn't make our guest twirl a little awkwardly on his couch. 

From the not-so-tolerant Cypriot society, to the small steps forward, and from whether the eponymous gays should outing the possibility that Cyprus will ever have an openly gay political leader (even a president!), 15 minutes is too little to cover such a large and important field. But we also tried the Costa Gavrielides, I have to admit, he is an extremely calm, comfortable and conscientious interlocutor. 
08 September 2020 - The expulsion of the "shame", the poor and his fate and... double meters and double weights
Kevork and Enzo

The expulsion of the "shame", the poor and his fate and the... double meters and double weights

They did not even think about cancelling Enzo's deportation order, despite the fact that he had entered into a cohabitation agreement with his Cypriot partner, since after his release he was transferred to police detention centres instead of Menogia because of his sexual orientation, and yesterday he was deported.

Enzo's deportation was reportedly scheduled for September 9, but he was deported unannounced yesterday, without even being allowed to speak with his partner to say goodbye.

It is noted that Enzo lived on the streets and ate from the garbage after his family abandoned him, and due to financial problems accepted a proposal to transport drugs to Cyprus. It may have been his first time, but he fell into the networks of the authorities and was sentenced to years in prison.

However, as he often stated, prison proved to be his salvation, as he felt he had found love and family that he never had, and then met his partner, with whom last January they concluded a cohabitation agreement.

However, the authorities have decided to deport him, with the question being asked, is whether the purpose was deportation, why did they not do so in any case from the very first moment? What's the point of the penitentiary? What is the point of all the effort being made to support and reintegrate prisoners into society after it was decided in this particular case to deport and return to the streets of Brazil again? Is that our human face or does it matter because he's gay? How does the state apply what it occasionally says about second chance to people who have committed an offense?  And all these questions, at a time when Cypriot passports were given to criminals, but who happened to be holding millions...

"If the husband wants to follow him, go find him in the country where he lives"

And while Enzo was on his way to the airport, the relevant parliamentary committee was meeting, in the presence of the Director of the penitentiary, with one of the issues on the table being the decision to deport the Brazilian.

ACPL MEP K koukouma, speaking to REPORTER, described the decision as so-called, suggesting that it was not the first time the interior minister had acted in this way, ignoring the legality of his actions and decisions.

"These are the perceptions of the Government, which lead to blatantly conservative actions. The President's advisor on multiculturalism, acceptance and respect for diversity had also reacted to the decision Costa Gavrielides, calling it unconstitutional. They cannot have an adviser on these matters and on the other hand not take him into account. Mr. Gavriilidis stressed that basic articles of the Convention on Human Rights are violated. Similarly, the Commissioner for Administration reacted, asking for the suspension of the deportation order, until the matter was investigated."

Referring to yesterday's session of the parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, Ms Koukouma noted that they had unanimously decided to send a letter to the interior minister to stop the deportation proceedings of Enzo, since she is the wife of a Cypriot citizen.

"Unfortunately, at the time of the discussion and when I had mentioned that "as we speak, the deportation proceedings have begun", this man was being transported to the airport and had been boarded on the plane to travel to his country. I really didn't believe it and didn't want to believe it that they had moved on with the procedures. We can only express our disappointment at the handling that has been done. Even the prison director herself had described the decision as unfair. He had spoken of the man in the best words, that in prisons, his conduct was such that it led to his sentence being reduced. He was released on good behavior grounds and after he got out of prison, he was arrested and the decree of his deportation came out."

Ms. Koukouma went on to stress that at the end of the committee session, and while they were in parliament, in order to prepare the letter to be sent to the interior minister, Mr. Nouris had gone to the site and in the context of a friendly discussion, they informed him that they were preparing the relevant letter on the subject.

"In the presence of journalists, but not during the session, the minister had expressed in such a way that he had signed a deportation order. In remarking that she is now the wife of a Cypriot national, she replied that "if the husband wants to follow him, go find him in the country where he lives". This shows that they do not respect human rights, they do not respect people. It is not just that this is a foreigner, which leads to the minister's racist attitude, but it is also related to homophobic issues and this is not the first time that this Government has expressed itself in this way."

Disappointed o Costa Gavrielides on the decision

Moreover, the advisor to the President of the Republic on issues of Multiculturalism, Acceptance and Respect for Diversity Costa Gavrielides, in a statement, expressed his disappointment at the decision of the Ministry of Interior.

Mr. Gavriilidis indicated that "great disappointment was caused by the development of the case of Enzo who was expelled today from the Republic. This despite many attempts in the last month to the Ministry of Interior by different Bodies to stop the process. Enzo had signed a Political Cohabitation in January 2020 with the Cypriot Kevork with whom they met in the Central Prisons 5 years ago and constituted the first gay couple of prisoners in the Central Prisons in Cyprus.

Given his well-documented good conduct in recent years of serving a sentence for his misconduct, the President's adviser continued, but above all the fact that the Department of Population and Immigration Records has not proceeded to declare the Civil Partnership invalid, I believe that the decision to issue a deportation order is incorrect since the right to respect for family life makes deportation a disproportionate measure.

"Knowing that Kevork has never visited Brazil and has no other social, cultural or family ties there, while not speaking Portuguese, in practice this means that the permanent expulsion of Enzo from Cyprus means separation of the family. I believe that this decision is not in line with Article 15 (1) of the Constitution, nor with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which protects the right to private and family life for all. After the deportation, I contacted the Minister of the Interior to whom I once again expressed my strong disagreement over the handling of the case."
August 07, 2020 - Separate the prison couple

They're breaking up the prison couple.

The separation of the first couple of homosexual prisoners in Cyprus who signed a cohabitation agreement within the prisons marks a decree of the Department of Population and Migration Records. Faced with deportation and confinement at oroklini police station, Enzo was found immediately after his release from central prison.

With the desire to change the case and keep together the family created by Enzo and Kevork, a complaint is filed today with the Commissioner of Administration. Request, as naturalized Enzo, who comes from Brazil after Kevork was born and raised in Cyprus.

As migration consultant Diana Katura told "F", Enzo was released last Wednesday and immediately transferred to Oroklinis police station. "What we are asking is that the deportation process not proceed. This is a husband of a Cypriot citizen. After all, a cohabitation agreement has the recognition of a civil marriage. He can therefore apply for and obtain a residence permit'. To this end, Mrs Katura will today deliver a complaint to the Commissioner for Administration stating that "they are going to break up with a couple who have been together for five years. Which has been very tested. Who's had a rough time in prison. Who faced a lot of prejudice." Moreover, he noted, his husband will also be released from prison in the autumn, so the bureaucratic process can be done. "In a marriage there is no possibility to divorce a family."

For his part, the advisor to the President of the Republic on issues of Multiculturalism, Acceptance, Respect and Diversity, Costa Gavrielides, he noted to "F" that a decision on this case is expected from the interior minister. "I believe that deportation should not be sought. Especially, since the guards' administration assures that this man does not pose a danger to the Republic of Cyprus. I am particularly concerned about the circumstances of his detention. However, I am sure that the interior minister will take into account the data, the position of the prisons and once we have a married couple they will not divorce them."
18 May 2020 - Offsite - C.Gavrielides: Cyprus is taking steps forward with LGBTI rights

C. Gavrielides: Cyprus takes steps towards LGBTI rights

"Cyprus has seen a significant rise in the annual ranking of the international organisation for LGBTI rights ILGA-Europe"

The road to eliminating discrimination and prejudice is long and difficult, says Costa Gavrielides, Advisor to the President of the Republic on issues of Multiculturalism, Acceptance and Respect for Diversity, says, however, that Cyprus is taking steps forward.
May 18, 2020 - ToThemaOnline - Costa Gavrielides: Cyprus takes steps forward on LGBTI rights

Costa Gavrielides: Cyprus takes steps forward on LGBTI rights

The road to eliminating discrimination and prejudice is long and difficult, says Costa Gavrielides, Advisor to the President of the Republic on issues of Multiculturalism, Acceptance and Respect for Diversity, says, however, that Cyprus is taking steps forward.

In a statement on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Bisexuality, it also says that although the proportion of relevant legislation remains low, the progress made is essential.
05 September 2019 - Dialogue - K. Gavriilidis: The police accepted the "explanations" of Metropolitan Morphou
Costa Gavrielides - Costas Gavrielides

K.Gavriilidis: The police accepted the "explanations" of Metropolitan Morphou

The findings of the Police on the statements of Metropolitan Morphou are a first reference and the decision of the Attorney General should be expected, said the Advisor to the President of the Republic on issues of diversity Costa Gavrielides.

Speaking to Astra, he recalled that Morfos Neophytos's references to homosexuals were offensive and it doesn't matter if they were made in the main part of his speech or if he answered questions, as the Metropolitan claimed and accepted by the Police.

What matters, Mr. Gavriilidis stressed, that there was a public homophobic rhetoric.

He also pointed out that there was discrimination from the police point of view, since there was a delay of three weeks for the Metropolitan to receive a statement invoking the fasting period.
July 31, 2019 - Politis Newspaper - To the Attorney General for Morphou's statements Costa Gavrielides
Costa Gavrielides - Costas Gavrielides

To the Attorney General for Morphou's statements Costa Gavrielides

The sending of a letter to the Attorney General requesting the examination of the statements of Metropolitan Morphou in the context of the existing legislation was announced by the Advisor of the President of the Republic on issues of Multiculturalism, Acceptance and Respect for Diversity Costa Gavrielides.

31 July 2019 - AlphaNews Live - Letter to Kostas Clerides on morfos statements by the Consultant of the P.D.
Costa Gavrielides - Costas Gavrielides

Letter to Costas Clerides on the morfos statements by the Councilor of the Plo

Extreme, unacceptable and reprehensible characterizes the Advisor to the President of the Republic for Multiculturalism, Acceptance & respect for Diversity Costa Gavrielides, the recent statements of Metropolitan Neophytos of Morphou about homosexuality. 
May 17, 2019 - InCyprus - LGBTI people still subject to physical attacks in Cyprus, says President's adviseon diversity
Costa Gavrielides - Costas Gavrielides

Interview: LGBTI people still subject to physical attacks in Cyprus, says President's adviser on diversity

By: Andreas Nicolaides

There is about one report of physical attack against LGBTI people every two months in Cyprus, says the President's adviser on diversity and multiculturalism and former president of Accept Costas Gavrielides.

He was interviewed by Phileleftheros on occasion of May 17, International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

"It is estimated that one incident of physical attack is reported every two months. However, this is only the percentage of the reports that were officially filed as homophobic or transphobic," Gavrielides said, highlighting that there may be more attacks against LGBTI people taking place in Cyprus that are not defined as such.

"Last month a group of friends were punched and verbally abused outside a bakery in Nicosia, because of their sexual orientation. Although the police appeared, according to the victims, they did not seem very keen on proceeding with filing formal complaints," Gavrielides said.

On top of this, LGBTI people regularly face verbal abuse, Gavrielides added. "Someone may swear at you in school or at the workplace. The number of these attacks is worryingly high and a daily phenomenon for many LGBTI people.

"Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transexuals and intersex people in Cyprus, as in other countries, must find ways to face physical and verbal attacks. Physical attacks that lead to real bodily harm do happen," he said.

Cyprus ranked 33rd out of 49 European countries for LGBTI rights

Asked to comment on a recent report by ILGA-Europe which ranked Cyprus 33rd among 49 European countries as regards the human rights situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people, Gavrielides said that the results are very disappointing and worrisome.

"Unfortunately it wasn't unexpected. Cyrus is also 23rd among 28 EU countries. Which means that it dropped two places since last year. What I really find sad is that Malta, a country that was in the same place as us a few years ago, now has the top spot."

Legal obstacles against equality

Gavrielides noted that there are big delays in the passing of laws to combat discrimination against the LGBTI community. "For example, the draft of the gender identity bill should have already been voted. It is with great sadness that I realise that despite all the efforts, it has not even been submitted to Parliament yet, and it has been for months now undergoing legal review in the Law Office."

The bill will make possible for people to change their gender identity in public documents.

Under the proposed bill, the gender of each individual on their ID papers will be recorded according to how they identify and not on what is recorded on their birth certificate. Individuals will be allowed to apply to the district office and ask for a change in their registered gender to that which they identify with.

Cyprus is the last EU member state not to have adopted legislation on the legal recognition of gender identity.

Laws that do not permit the adoption of children by LGBTI people lead them to "illegal processes and even migration," Gavrielides said on the fact that the adoption of children by lesbian, gay, bisexual ,transgender, and intersex people is not legal in Cyprus.

"Our refusal to recognise that there are LGBTI families creates problems, especially to the children of these families."

For example, if an LGBTI couple breaks up, the child is not allowed to receive support, as in the case of children of heterosexual couples.

Also, in the case of a family where the parents are lesbians, only the birth mother has custody of the child.

"We must fight the fear against same-sex couples and adoption, which is based on ignorance. For decades now, studies have been clear. Children of same-sex families are not at a disadvantage, but to the contrary, many times are in an advantageous position, psychologically, to children of heterosexual families, as they are a result of a very conscious choice by their parents," Gavrielides concluded
January 19, 2019 - City Free Press - Homofyl Couple

The position of the former president of Accept LGBTQI on the case of illegal adoption

Why the Costa Gavrielides considers that the same victims as the child are the same-sex couple who adopted it?

06 June 2018 - Avant Guard - Advisor to the PD on diversity issues the former president of accept Costa Gavrielides
Costa Gavrielides - Costa Gabriilidis

Advisor to the PoD on diversity issues the former president of Accept Costa Gavrielides

The unpaid appointment of the former president of the accept LGBTQI Cyprus, Costas Gavriilidis, as Advisor to the President of the Republic on issues of promoting multiculturalism, Acceptance and Respect for Diversity announced during her speech at this year's Pride March, the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, Vasiliki Anastasiadou.

06 June 2018 - City Free Press - The former president of ACCEPT has just been appointed an adviser to the President of the Republic
Costa Gavrielides - Costa Gavriilides

The former President of ACCEPT has just been appointed an adviser to the President of the Republic

The position concerns issues promoting multiculturalism, acceptance and respect for diversity.

09 December 2017 - City Free Press - End of Season for Kostas Gavriilidis

End of the season for Costas Gavriilidis as president of Accept

After 5 1/2 years and 3 terms, as provided for in the statutes of the organization, it hands over the reins to another person.

on the facebook of the President of Accept-LGBT Cyprus, Costas Gavriilidis, immediately after the adoption by the House of the much-discussed bill on the Covenant.

07 December 2017 - Dialogue - Darkness "kills" Art

Darkness 'kills' Art

By Eleni Konstantinou

Salos with the ban on the Cock show in the Savior

The reaction not only of the artistic community, but of a large portion of the citizens of Cypriot society was provoked by the decision of the Municipal Council of Sotiras to ban the performance of the THOK, Cock, which was scheduled for yesterday.

Any excuses for a ban seem unconvincing, with the reasons running out of homophobia and obscurity that unfortunately hold well... In particular, the decision to ban the work was that there would be reactions and perhaps incidents, but this is considered by the THOk to be an indirect censorship and violation of the right to freedom of expression, especially when it comes from a Local Government body.

However, the artistic director of THOK, Savvas Kyriakidis, clarified that the THOK will consider with his legal advisers whether he can take legal action regarding the cancellation of the show.

He made it clear that there is no question of morale or provocation in the show for which so far there has been no reaction. He stressed that the Agency would consider the performance in the Famagusta area. Already the Board of Directors of Deryneias is positive to give the performance there.

As far as the work itself is concerned, as THOK points out, it is a high-level artistic production, which sensitively and humorously touches on issues that touch society and modern man, such as those of companionship, self-determination, freedom of will and acceptance of diversity.

While the show has already made a successful journey to Nicosia and Limassol, without any protest.

For his part, the mayor of Sotiras, Giorgos Takkas, as he stated in "Astra" wanted to prevent the possibility of incidents in Sotira and therefore the Municipal Council decided unanimously not to allow THOK to upload the Cock project.

The decision, as he said, is not so much related to the play, but to strong reactions that were heard from people and who aimed to sabotage the show. His opposition and regret for the postponement of the performance was expressed by the president of Accept – LGBTI Cyprus, Costa Gavrielides. Asked by "Haravgi" to comment on this event, Mr. Gavriilidis pointed out that the real reasons behind the postponement, which are homophobia and obscurantism, are a sad fact.

The right treatment, Noted Mr. Gavriilidis, would be to make the show with policing, so as not to cause tensions. Also commenting on the fact that the majority of the Board of Directors of the Municipality of Sotira that took the decision consists of councillors of the DISY and DIKO parties, Mr. Gavriilidis stressed that these parties should not only position themselves, but also take substantial measures.

As he said characteristically, Accept – LGBTI met with the presidential candidates supported by the specific parties, so the declarations should also be applied in practice.

It should be noted that in a communication already the ACPL Sotiras which does not participate with a representative of the Board expresses its strong opposition to the decision, pointing out that it leaves the municipality exposed to the whole of Cyprus, which rightly wonders what century we live in.
26 May 2017 - Antivirus Magazine Greece - Interview


By Vasilis Thanopoulos

Just before the 4th Pride of Cyprus, the Costa Gavrielides, president of Accept – LGBT Cyprus, spoke to us about the theme of this year's Festival, the climate that prevails on the island, around and his thoughts on the future of Cyprus Pride.

1 June 2016 - Limassol Newspaper - Costa Gavrielides: "There are needs in the LGBTI of Limassol"

Costa Gavrielides: "There are needs in the LGBTI of Limassol"

Under the slogan "Transformyour Mind" the 3rd Cyprus Pride March took place on Sunday.

According to an announcement by Accept-LGBT Cyprus "this year's Pride was the motto of TransformForm your Mind and its aim was to give voice and image to the trans community and to claim with it the legal recognition of gender identity".

Particular satisfaction was brought by the dynamic presence of the LGBTI team of Limassol, where a local association has been created for a year now. Commenting on the phenomenon, Costa Gavrielides, president of ACCEPT-LGBT, stressed that this picture was the culmination of a very active year around the issues that concern LGBTI people in Limassol. He characteristically referred to the events that took place in collaboration with cut on media issues, while he also focused on the event that highlighted the problems of LGBT people who are parents.

"There are needs in the LGBTI of Limassol", concluded Costa Gavrielides and assured that the ACCEPT-LGBTI organization is ready to respond to them.

The Costa Gavrielides, assessing the 3rd event in a row in total, said that it was striking that fewer parties were present than those that supported the organization's actions in the run-up to the elections. "We are very pleased that a party leader, Nikolas Papadopoulos from DIKO, was also present," added Mr. Gavriilidis and said that in the near future they will attempt contacts with the parliamentary parties for the exchange of views. "We believe that we can exchange views with all parties except ELAM", concluded Mr. Gavriilidis, who explained that in the coming period they will focus especially on Trans people and the problems they face with the identification of their data through official documents.

According to the announcement at the beginning of the march, on behalf of the President of the Republic, the Deputy Minister to the President, Konstantinos Petridis, was greeted by the President, Konstantinos Petridis, while the Mayor of Nicosia, Konstantinos Giorkatzis, having Pride under his auspices, gave his mark for the third year in a row.

On behalf of the European Commission Representation in Cyprus, George Markofouliotis and Alexandra Attalidou on behalf of the Office of the European Parliament in Cyprus welcomed.

The event was also welcomed by Alekos Modinos, MP Eleni Mavrou in her capacity as the Minister who tabled in the House the bill on the Covenant, Mr Andreas Mavromihalis on behalf of the LGBTI Parents Group, the President of dIKO Nikolas Papadopoulos, the Vice-President of DISY Stella Kyriakidou, the MP ACPL Irene Charalabidou, Praxoula Antoniados on behalf of the EDI and the President of the Youth Council Loizos Vassiliou.

"After the march the crowd danced to the rhythms of Drumble Beats, CoinDrop and DJs Mr. Fox and The Mighty Scoop & Pueblo Franco. The evening ended with Krista Papista's special performance, the announcement concludes.
03 January 2016 - Alos - Costa Gavrielides*: Some even consider homosexuality a disease

Costa Gavrielides*: Some even consider homosexuality a disease

By Giorgos Pavlidis /

Going out in public to defend a minority that, in the eyes of the conservative establishment, is a part of society, takes a lot of courage and enormous reserves of power. And it seems that the re-elected president of the LGBT community of Cyprus has both.

The Costa Gavrielides born in 1977 in Athens, he came of age in Cyprus, but immediately after his service in the army, apparently not withstanding the pressure he was experiencing, he left for London. There he lived a whole decade to finally return to Cyprus in 2008, where together with a small group of groundbreaking volunteers organized the homosexual movement of Cyprus. In its six years of life, accept has achieved all the other similar Movements in Europe that have taken decades to succeed.

In the interview we had with the President of ACCEPT we consciously chose not to repeat the words. On the contrary, considering some facts, we have focused our attention on the future objectives set by the Organization, on the homophobic climate in education, as well as on the psychological and other support that adolescents with different sexual orientations need...

In recent times, the LGBT community may have won a number of victories, but let's not be fooled, people with different sexual orientations are still cornered...

C.C.: The most difficult period for a gay person is that of adolescence, when faced with the guilt that torments him. It is the period when he realizes that his body behaves differently, but is not yet able to realize exactly what is going on with him. Many choose to go against their nature and follow what is considered "normal." Others feel guilty on religious grounds. Even today you see young people who are constantly struggling with the guilt caused by religion, or their families who adopt religious doctrine consider homosexuality an anomaly. It is especially important for a gay person to realize as early as possible that sexual orientation should not define their life, that it is just a part of the whole...

- But this presupposes that on the one hand the homosexual person accepts himself and on the other that society accepts him as he is...

C.C.: Both are hard to do. That's probably why many people go abroad. That's what I did. I went to study in London and stayed there for a decade. In fact, when I was leaving, I had in mind never to come back... So fleeing abroad is a way out. But there are also people who don't have the ability, or don't want to stay... People with different orientations must choose whether to reconcile with their specificity without being ashamed of who they are, or whether they will choose to hide by oppressing themselves. The pleasing thing is that in recent years more and more gay people are taking the liberty and communicating their particularity to the family, or in their close friendly circle, people who choose to make a fresh start ...

- In the past, homosexual people were treated in a savage, inhuman way. Today the picture has changed?

K.C: First of all, I think it is very important that the State, by mouth of Mp Pambou Papageorgiou, found the courage and apologized for the way in which gay people have been treated for decades. It is true that in recent years the number of cases of violence has been reduced. The dialogue that developed within society on the occasion of pride parades and the Covenant of cohabitation has helped many people to realise that gay people are not "a society", not the "shame of the family". At the same time, however, there are still many citizens, as well as families, who have not changed their minds. There is ignorance and prejudice. After you imagine there are still people who consider homosexuality a disease, a sin. The surveys also record high rates of homophobia, verbal violence and curling.... 

 - How does ACCEPT help make the image better?

K.C.: As an LGBT organization we try and I think we manage to find allies within society itself. For example, when it comes to young people, we have an ally in the Agency and the Youth Council, when it comes to domestic violence issues, we have the Commissioner on our side to combat domestic violence. In addition, I would like to mention that for the past year we have been operating the parent group, which aims to provide psychological support to families who come to us. I point out the difficulties a family faces when it becomes known that one of its members has a different sexual orientation. Parents find it difficult to accept reality, often causing problems for their children. ACCEPT is also trying to offer support to non-Greek-speaking members of the organization, to people from the Turkish Cypriot community, while lately we have been trying to help transsexual people who are even more isolated and marginalized by society.  Imagine that transgender people can't change the elements in their political identity even after gender reassignment surgery... In this respect, our legislation has huge gaps and deficits.

- In recent years the need to accept the different and the cultivation of anti-racist culture among children is an educational goal. To what extent does this campaign also touch homosexuality?

C.C.: On the part of the Ministry of Education, although there is a perception of the issue of homosexuality, no steps have been taken towards enlightening teachers and addressing cases of homophobia seen in school. Not a single circular has been issued, no material has been distributed, the subject has not even been raised for discussion!

Since 2012 there has been and is an initiative aimed at creating a shield against homophobia, but teachers are involved in this effort on a purely voluntary basis. In 2013 the courses of the initiative were attended by around 120 teachers, but as we found they were eminently people who were aware of the subject anyway. The big problem is those teachers who, either because of ignorance or because they are attached to perceptions of the past, refuse to discuss the whole thing. For example, they refuse to open a dialogue with children on the issue of homophobia, because they fear that such an action will confront them with parents. From the point of view of several teachers, mainly because of ignorance, there is a homophobic discourse based on racist stereotypes that, among other things, preserves and reinforces the guilt faced by children with different sexual orientations. For example, the way gender segregation is done causes problems: "as a boy you can't behave like that, or as a girl you have to do one or the other...". Unwittingly teachers become the cause of a problem among children, even where there is no reason.

- As ACCEPT have you been invited to talk to children in schools?

C.C.: Autonomously not, but we have been invited through the Office of the Commissioner for Administration in the context of the dialogue on diversity issues. For example, I was recently invited to speak at a school in Nicosia. In the early stages the children greeted me with laughter and a cheer of derision. But along the way they showed interest, they were puzzled and at the end of the debate I think they began to revise any stereotypes that had begun to be created in their minds. On the contrary, the most controversial (aggressive) questions came from the Professors...

- So maybe attention should turn to teachereducation?

C.C.: I guess so. I repeat that most teachers create homophobic standards mainly because of ignorance. But the impact of this behaviour on children, primarily those with different sexual orientations, is crucial. These children lose their self-confidence and self-respect, closing in on themselves, so their sexual orientation affects their subsequent professional steps, their social behavior, their formation as personalities... Of course there are also teachers - mainly theologians or priestly teachers, who, by expressing positions and opinions against homosexuality, consciously choose to cultivate homophobic syndromes in children. I believe that in these cases the Ministry should intervene, even more so that homophobic speech is now illegal!

- 2015 was an important year for your Organization. The adoption by the State of the Cohabitation Pact, as well as the criminalisation of homophobic speech, as well as the whole debate that has taken place around these issues, has changed the data so far to a remarkable extent. What are the next objectives of ACCEPT?

C.C.: From the day after Tuesday, 5 of the General, the Law on the Covenant of Cohabitation is implemented. So from this week the Home Office will be able to issue permits. Of course, we should not overlook the fact that several same-sex couples have married abroad. The State of Cyprus now recognises by law this relationship

As far as our objectives are concerned, we want and will seek to see changes in the field of education. We believe that the Ministry should take some steps forward. It is important to start a dialogue on the issues of homophobia and sexual orientation within schools.

As an organisation we aim to improve on the basis of European standards

of the image that exists within society for transsexual people. This category, as I have pointed out above, is perhaps in the most difficult position since, among other things, it is also legally unfounded. I would remind you that there are also the judgments of the European Court of Justice with which the State must comply.

We also want parents to come together with the organization and with their decisive contribution to help enlighten families, society to change the negative image that exists within society of people with different sexual orientations.

Finally, we hope that SOON ACCEPT will finally be able to acquire its own space.

- Is the right to childbearing an objective?

C.C.: We think it is very important for a society to eliminate all kinds of discrimination. This also touches on the issues of procreation. Either way, the issue of the rights of same-sex children is there and this is not related to the cohabitation pact. I'm just saying that more than 20% of lgbt community members are parents. No one can ban an LGBT person from procreating. The prohibition of child bearing essentially affects the children themselves, the guarantee of their rights vis-à-vis both parents, which is unacceptable. So we're dealing with a reality that the state has to recognize.
26 November 2015 - City Free Press - "Great day for Cyprus today"

"Great day for Cyprus today"

The message on facebook of the President of Accept-LGBT Cyprus, Costas Gavriilidis, immediately after the adoption by the House of the much-discussed bill on the Covenant.

09 January 2015 - City Free Press - Paolas Revenioti Photos

Paola's photos were returned [the complaints were withdrawn]

After a month and a half of their seizure by the Cypriot police, the photos of Paola Reveniotis were returned a short time ago to accept-LGBT Cyprus while all complaints against the organization and its President for "obscene content in a public place" were withdrawn.

May 17, 2014 - City Free Press - Interview

"It's time to get over the embarrassment"

By Ioanna Christodoulou
Dynamic and assertive, Kostas is the calm force of Accept LGBT Cyprus. We met last Thursday, after the organization's press conference was completed, for coffee downtown. On the occasion of today's World Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, we talked about everything that concerns him and ACCEPT.

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15 May 2014 - SigmaLive - Press Conference Accept 2014 - Acceptance of Diversity Calls for Accept - LGBT Cyprus

Acceptance of diversity calls for Accept – LGBT Cyprus

On the occasion of the World Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which is celebrated every year on 17 May and on the occasion of the organization of the first Cyprus Pride Festival, a press conference was held at the EU House on Thursday.

As reported in the CNA, the President of Accept – LGBT Cyprus, (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex), Costa Gavrielides, he said that on the occasion of this annual press conference "we come to bring one of the biggest problems of Cypriot society to the forefront, publicly combating stigma and prejudice against 10% of the population, that is, against 85,000 of our Cypriot fellow human beings".
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