1 A report on Sexual Orientation in Cyprus: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate, Experiences and Needs Two studies conducted in the context of ILGA-Europe s 7th Call for Proposals for Human Rights Violations Documentation Fund. Report prepared by: Margarita Kapsou, Anna Christophi, & Maria Epaminonda for the Cyprus Family Planning Association & accept-lgbt Cyprus, June 2011, Nicosia, Cyprus
2 i Nicosia, Cyprus Family Planning Association & accept-lgbt Cyprus This publication was made with the support of ILGA-Europe within its Human Rights Violations Documentation Fund. The opinions expressed in the document do not necessarily reflect any official position of ILGA-Europe.
3 i Cyprus Family Planning Association The Cyprus Family Planning Association (CFPA) is one of the oldest and most firmlyestablished Non-profit, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Cyprus, with a rich and ongoing contribution to society, health, education, and Human Rights since its inception in The CFPA is a fully accredited member of the European Network of the International Planned Parenthood Federation- European Network (IPPF-EN), with active involvement in several European networks and bodies. The CFPA works towards promoting and advocating for the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of all people in Cyprus. CFPA's vision is a world where sexuality is expressed and enjoyed in freedom, equality, respect and love. Respect and protection of sexual reproductive rights as basic human rights is a prerequisite for ensuring sexual health and wellbeing of all people. Our mission is to promote the development of a society where all people can enjoy the basic human right to make free and informed choices in their sexual, emotional and reproductive lives. We work to defend, protect and advocate for the sexual and reproductive rights of all women, men and young people, and we exercise a leading role in sexual and reproductive health through the work of our committed, competent and skilled volunteers and staff. We firmly believe that evidence-based, Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), free of prejudice, dogma or ideologies, is necessary to equip young people with the tools - knowledge and skills- needed to make informed and free choices regarding their sexual life. Thus, the CFPA plans, implements and evaluates information and education programs for youth by youth and specialists, educates parents, teachers and other professionals, and publishes accurate information and educational materials on issues of sexuality. Moreover, in the context of our efforts to ensure access by all to health services, we regularly offer low cost clinical services by volunteer gynaecologists. We carry out research programs to record and document the needs in Cyprus and conduct programs to promote and defend Sexual Reproductive Rights. In relation to sexual orientation, the CFPA believes that it can take many forms and be expressed in a number of different ways, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual relationships, and that all people should be able to express their sexuality freely. The CFPA is concerned about discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, as a serious violation of basic human rights. Its actions have included leading an awareness raising campaign on sexual orientation in the context of the year for Equal Opportunities for All 2007 in cooperation with the Cyprus Gay Liberation Movement (AKOK). In order to provide accurate information and raise awareness among the general public on the issue of sexual orientation from a human rights perspective and discrimination due to sexual orientation, the CFPA has issued an informational booklet titled Sexual Orientation - Myths and Truths. The CFPA also provides information and support on sexuality issues, including issues pertaining to sexual orientation, through a free helpline (1455).
4 ii Accept-LGBT Cyprus In September 2009, a group of people came together to explore and discuss not only the discrimination they were facing but also the exclusion and intolerance they were witnessing around them when expressing their sexual identity and orientation. Get-together after gettogether began to gather momentum and so with the energy, vision and passion of the many, accept LGBT Cyprus came into being. A steady group of people began to meet regularly, quickly forming an organization dedicated to, focused on and driven by, the need for sexual equality; freedom of expression and sexual rights is long overdue. Having applied in October 2010, accept LGBT Cyprus, for now, is still awaiting formal recognition. With more than 500 members registered to the website and an almost 1000 strong following on a prominent social networking site, accept LGBT Cyprus has demonstrated in the short time of its existence that a strong voice is emerging. In the short time of its activity, this organised group has achieved a great deal. Included in these achievements are not only commemorations and celebrations such as those on May 17 th (IDAHO day) and attendance at the Athens Pride festivals, but also the first European conference to be held in Cyprus focused on LGBT issues, the first movie nights discussions, the first photo exhibitions with an LGBT theme, to be opened by Mayors of Nicosia and Paphos, public debates on sexuality, sexual rights, same sex partnerships, as well as well attended open social gatherings. Our participation, along with Cyprus Family Planning Association, in the current study has set the standard and pace for accept-lgbt Cyprus. There is still a long road ahead. Accept LGBT Cyprus has a vision for this journey which sees a society based on respect for the individual and their diversity without discrimination and preconceived notions, in particular on issues of sexual identity, confronting preconceived stereotypes, stigmas and social outcasting. The energy of the group is focused on (1) advocacy, assertion and promotion of the rights and interests of LGBT people, as well as fighting against preconceived stereotypes, stigmas and social outcasting; and (2) sensitizing and informing the LGBT community as well as public opinion, the family, social institutions, organised, or otherwise, agencies, and society in general, on issues of sexual identity, gender, sexual orientation, and sexual health. The aims of the group include: to provide Information and support for the Cypriot Education system on issues of sexual identity and gender; to prevent the insurgence of homophobic tendencies, the protection and embedding of a pluralistic environment in the wider social circle; social sensitization of society on issues of sexual orientation with emphasis on the youth and gender; to support, empower, and advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) as well as dialogue and information giving amongst them; to fight for basic rights against prejudice and discrimination; to collaborate with regional and international organisations who are also working with issues of sexual identity and gender; to promote research and studies related to our issues; to take part in conferences and other organised events in relation to the development and promotion of ideals in the area of human rights, with emphasis on sexual orientation; to organise lectures and speeches etc., that will inform society along with other agencies regarding the association's agenda; to promote the implementation of European Law in relation to sexual orientation; to promote and implement political, legal programme and case-law from the EU and the European Commission in relation to the fight against discrimination and the promotion of equality, in particular with regard to sexual orientation and gender; and to promote the right to legalised same sex marriage, adoption, inheritance rights, insurance, health and other issues, for all Cypriot Citizens, with discrimination.
5 iii Foreword When the call was announced that funding had become available to map LGBT issues, Margarita Kapsou, Maria Epaminonda, Stalo Lesta, and I met for lunch. Our main concerns and discussions were not focused on whether we had the skills and capacity to conduct such a task, as each of us had done so before either as a group and/or individually; they were focused on whether the society within which we live would be ready to accept such a spotlight of attention. We were fully aware that such a study, focused on LGBT issues, had never been conducted in Cyprus before. Our personal and professional experiences had made each of us aware of the fact that human rights issues, issues of equality and acceptance of diversity, including issues around racism and even sexual health, had become hot topics in Cyprus. Non-governmental organizations, and research groups as well as governmental bodies and various other agencies had all begun to include Human Rights and diversity as standard foundational concepts. LGBT issues, however, had remained in the shadows. After the brief and ground-breaking start that had been made by Mr. Alecos Modinos and the Gay Liberation Movement of Cyprus, decades before, little more movement could be seen. Even though a vibrant LGBT community exists in Cyprus, we entered with some cautiousness into the agreement that we would and could encourage 100 LGBT people to participate in a mapping exercise via questionnaires, specifically about their experiences in living, expressing, concealing, announcing and defending their right to be authentically themselves in a specific LGBT focus. Through the persistence of the research team which included Anna Christophi, Nicole Polycarpou, Irene Kounnou, and numerous volunteers, as well as the visibility that the accept LGBT Cyprus website gave as an access point, our expectations were surpassed, and in total 136 questionnaires were completed, marking a historical moment in the LGBT arena in Cyprus. This report presents preliminary results from the first integrated island-wide study on LGBT issues. The main part is divided into four sections. The first section sets the scene by providing some historical background for LGBT issues in Cyprus. Then, two separate chapters follow presenting the two studies that were conducted in the context of this project. Study 1 documented the contemporary sociolopolitical climate around LGBT issues, through analysis of newspaper articles for the years Study 2 documented the experiences
6 iv and needs of LGB persons in Cyprus, through questionnaires. Chapters for each study include the aims, methodology, results, and a brief discussion of key findings. In the last section, the report concludes with a general discussion and recommendations for future needs and advocacy on LGBT issues. Potential recipients of the results of these studies include decision/policy makers such as MPs and specific parliamentary committees (Human Rights, Health, Education, Equal Opportunities), relevant Ministries (e.g. Justice and Public Order, Education and Culture, Health), the Commissioner of Administration, National and international NGOs/CSOs and academic or research institutions, media outlets and members of the LGBT movement to the ground for beginning advocacy work on LGB rights to enable law amendments provide information, raise awareness, sensitize, and influence opinions for the general public, guide development of the organization s strategic plan and planning of next activities. As for the latter the research will contribute to the improvement/enrichment the challenges, and needs of LGBT people in Cyprus, and can be used as a tool to advocate for social and political reform to tackle discrimination and human rights violations experienced by the LGB community in Cyprus. This is the beginning. Using this mapping exercise, future needs and areas of attention have been identified. The LGBT population of Cyprus have started to exercise their right to freedom of expression. Using their voice via this study marks the beginning for a journey that can only shed light, positive attitude and inspiration to others. Sylvie Mantis Acting President accept LGBT Cyprus July 2011
7 v Acknowledgments Project implementation and completion was possible thanks to the enthusiasm, commitment, and hard work of the research team, many of whom devoted their time and expertise as volunteers; of CFPA staff and volunteers; of accept-lgbt Cyprus temporary steering committee and members; and thanks to the encouragement provided by all those individuals concerned about LGBT rights and human rights. In particular, I would like to thank the volunteer members of the research team: Irene Kounnou, Costas Constantinou, Ploutarchos Pantelides, and Soteris Koulermou, who assisted with the painstaking process of retrieving and coding articles, as well as in data collection; Nicole Polycarpou who coordinated the process; and especially, Stalo Lesta who developed the code frame, provided training, continuous support and direction to the research team during the coding process, and subsequently, for providing invaluable assistance in article analysis as well as feedback for this report. On behalf of accept-lgbt Cyprus, special thanks is owed to Yoryis Regginos and Despina Michaelidou, who along with many more anonymous volunteers assisted in recruiting participants and collecting questionnaires for this study; Costas Gabrielides, whose patient work in developing the infrastructure for the website and uploading the questionnaire for online dissemination, was crucial in facilitating the data collection process; and of course, temporary steering committee President, Sylvie Mantis, for the feedback, supervision, and encouragement she provided. In addition, we are grateful to Dora Georgiou and π café for their contributions with data collection; to Evgenia Kyriakidou, who assisted with data entry and management; and to journalists Yiorgos Kakouris and Christiana Voniati who facilitated this project s initial info-day on April 15 th 2011, and who have been supporting our endeavours throughout. I am personally indebted to this report s co-authors, who stood behind this project from the onset through its final stages: Anna Christophi, whose hard and methodical work, and professionalism were conducive to successful completion of this project s quantitative study; and Maria Epaminonda, CFPA s Executive Director, who stood by me for all the challenges faced during implementation of the project. Above all, we should express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the LGB participants, who took the time to complete the study s questionnaire and shared their experiences, needs, and personal stories. We hope that this study will serve justice to the LGBT community, by promoting visibility and awareness about their needs and contributing to the safeguarding of LGBT rights as human rights. This report was possible through funding provided by ILGA-Europe, in the context of the 7th Call for Proposals for the Human Rights Violations Documentation Fund. We are grateful for their continuing support in the establishment, development and growth of an organised LGBT movement in Cyprus. Margarita Kapsou, Principal Investigator
8 vi Table of Contents Foreword...iii Acknowledgments...v Preface...1 Introduction: Background of LGBT issues in Cyprus...3 Social and Legal Context...4 LGBT advocacy in Cyprus...12 The present study...13 Study 1: Mapping the Socio-political Climate...20 Abstract...21 Aims...22 Method...23 Selection of Sources...23 Description of Sources...24 Data Collection Procedure...24 Coding...26 Analysis...27 Results...28 Overall quantitative trends...28 Content Analysis by Newspaper...33 Overall Content Analysis and Mapping...42 Discussion...47 Contributions of the Study...55 Limitations...56 Overview...57 References...59 References to newspaper articles cited in the text...62 Study 2: Mapping the Experiences and needs of the LGBT community in Cyprus...88 Abstract...89 Aims...91 Method...93 Participants...93 Measures...93
9 vii Procedure...95 Statistical and Qualitative Analysis...95 Results...96 Participant Profile...96 Awareness about sexual orientation Experiences of physical violence Experiences of psychological violence Workplace School/University Delivery of services Internalized homophobia Responses to Open Questions Reasons for not reporting incidents Emerging topics Discussion Limitations Further Research Directions References General Discussion and Recommendations Concluding Remarks Appendix One: Newspaper Coding Frame Appendix Two: Questionnaire...168
10 1 Preface Available research on LGBT issues in Cyprus is limited, and prior reports and situational analyses have mostly been based on anecdotal evidence. Until recently, organised efforts to promote (LGBT) rights in Cyprus were minimal, and hence media and political discourse on LGBT issues is scarce, while expressions of any homophobic attitudes were mostly ignored. However, the past year (2010) was marked by increased interest in LGBT issues, as it included the official launch of an organised LGBT group (accept-lgbt Cyprus), increased coverage of LGBT issues in the media, and some rise in political discussion. These developments contribute to rendering a more fertile environment for conducting both LGBT advocacy and research. This project includes one of the first systematic attempts to document the situation and needs of LGBT issues in Cyprus though two parallel studies that were conducted between April 2010 and April In the first study articles pertaining to LGBT issues published in major newspapers in Cyprus in the past three years ( ) were collected, coded, and analyzed, in an effort to document the prevailing socio-political climate. The second study provides insight into the experiences of LGB persons in Cyprus, obtained through questionnaires completed by LGB people throughout the island. The study documented experiences of violence or psychological harassment, acceptance or discrimination in relation to work, housing, health and other services, faith, school and university, family, relationships, and social attitudes. Participants also provided information regarding the extent to which family members, friends, and colleagues were aware of their sexual orientation, reception of their sexual orientation by those who were aware, and how comfortable they felt expressing their sexuality. Information provided in this report will be of interest to activists and researchers, particularly those interested in conducting such work in novel contexts.
11 2 Introduction Margarita Kapsou & Maria Epaminonda
12 Running Head: Background 3 Introduction: Background of LGBT issues in Cyprus Cyprus remains a socially conservative country when it comes to issues pertaining to sexuality, or diversity. This conservatism is also true for LGBT issues and is reflected through public opinion, inadequate legal or institutional provisions through its institutions to ensure equal rights, and, generally, a lack of discourse on LGBT matters, which are still considered taboo and are thus lacking visibility. This section presents an overview of the current situation and main developments pertaining to LGBT issues over the past years or decades, including legislation, education, and public discourse. Available evidence from empirical studies or surveys regarding public opinion and perception of LGBT issues is reviewed. Evidence regarding LGBT issues in Cyprus so far consist mainly of sections in Eurobarometer reports on discrimination in the EU (2007; 2009), dealing with public opinion regarding sexual orientation, and surveys of public attitudes on homosexuality (Research Centre of Cyprus College, 2006; Sigma TV, 2011). Various reports to European agencies and networks also provide useful sources of information regarding the social and legal situation of LGBT persons in Cyprus. A policy document for the NGO SIMFILIOSI examines the situation concerning homophobia and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in various aspects such as family, work, asylum, education, health, religion, sports and media (Trimikliniotis & Karayianni, 2008). Two subsequent reports for the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (Trimikliniotis & Demetriou, 2008; European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2009) provide in-depth analyses of LGBT issues in Cyprus, from a legal and social perspective respectively. The situation is also summarized in ILGA-Europe s submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council for its Universal Periodic Review of Cyprus (6 th session). More recently, a report for the Network of socioeconomic experts in the
13 Running Head: Background 4 Anti-discrimination field (Polycarpou, 2010), covers the presents experiences obtained through interviews and a case on behalf of the Commissioner of Administration (Ombudswoman) (2006). Legal inadequacies and recommendations are provided through reports on various complaints for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation examined by the Commissioner of Administration (Nicolaou, 2009; 2010a). Some insight into the personal experiences of LGBT persons is provided through a qualitative study of the experiences of Anglo-Cypriot gay men conducted in London (Phellas, 2002; 2005; Philaretou, Phellas, & Karayianni, 2006) and later also published in Greek language (Phellas, Philaretou, & Karagiannis, 2010), which investigates issues such as disclosure to family and self-definition of identity. Finally, some data on sexual orientation are provided in the context of broader studies on sexuality and sexual reproductive health and rights (Kouta, 2004; Kapsou, 2006; Lesta, Lazarus, & Essen, 2008), and in analyses provided on the section on Cyprus in the International Encyclopedia of Sexuality (Georgiou, Modinos, Papageorgiou, Papantoniou, & Peristianis, 2006). The main findings from these sources are discussed in terms of the information they provide for the social and legal situation of LGBT persons in Cyprus today. Social and Legal Context The legal situation regarding LGBT people in Cyprus is disconcerting at best (a thorough review of the recent legal situation is provided by Trimikliniotis & Demetriou, 2008, updated in 2010). In a recent classification of the legal situation for LGBT people in Europe by ILGA- Europe, Cyprus ranked the lowest among EU countries; in fact, as of 2011, Cyprus is the only EU member state classified in ILGA-Europe s red zone, indicating gross violations of human rights and discrimination (ILGA-Europe, 2011). This low ranking is partly attributed to the failure of Cypriot legislation to make any mention of sexual orientation or gender identity in its
14 Running Head: Background 5 anti-discrimination and hate speech measures, the lack of any legal recognition of same sex partnerships and its unequal age of consent for heterosexual and same-sex couples. Moreover, Cyprus has never hosted a gay pride event. This situation is not surprising, considering that Cyprus historically lagged behind other European countries in terms of any recognition of LGBT rights, and even for the abolition of legislation criminalizing same-sex sexual behaviour among males. Throughout Cyprus history, colonial and post-colonial legacy prosecuted and marginalized LGBT people. Same-sex sexual relations among men were criminalized until 1998 and abolition only occurred following repeated pressure from the European Court of Human Rights, following a notorious appeal against the Cypriot state. In May 1989 Alecos Modinos appealed against the Cyprus Republic to the European Commission of Human Rights (Modinos v. Cyprus, no /89) for violation of his rights as a homosexual person. Even though Modinos won his appeal against the law criminalizing homosexuality in Cyprus in 1993 (European Court of Human Rights, 1993), the Cyprus government failed to implement the decision of the Court until 1998, when the country was to claim membership in the European Union and was essentially forced to amend the legislation (for a more detailed discussion of the Modinos v. Cyprus case, see Modinos, in Georgiou et al., 2006). Furthermore, the age of consent defined for male same-sex sexual activity (defined at 18 years of age) remained unequal to the age of consent for heterosexual activity (defined at 16). In 2002, in an attempt to appease Modinos, who followed with further appeals, age of consent for sexual intercourse under the law was changed to 17 years for both heterosexual and same-sex relationships; this amendment was not however sufficient to eliminate discrimination regarding age of consent based on sexual orientation, since the age of consent for marriage, which only applies for heterosexual couples, remains at 16. Since 2004,
15 Running Head: Background 6 additional legislation implementing the European directive against discrimination law has been enforced to prohibit discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation (among other types of discrimination) in the workplace. Legislation in Cyprus never included any reference to lesbians or transgender persons. Although transgender persons are not explicitly covered by any laws, it is assumed that the issue would be treated as discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation rather than gender identity (Trimikliniotis & Demetriou, 2008). Moreover, there is no legislation in Cyprus addressing homophobia, homophobic hate speech or homophobic motivation for a crime on the grounds of sexual orientation. As a result, homophobic hate speech and homophobic hate crimes are dealt with as indistinguishable from other crimes and remain undocumented. There is no case law or any decision made by the equality body regarding the above provisions. Most LGBT persons in Cyprus are closeted and will not pursue their rights if that involves revealing their sexual orientation (Trimikliniotis & Demetriou, 2008). Lack of trust in the public authorities and police appear to be partly responsible for underreporting of incidents (Trimikliniotis & Karayianni, 2008). Neither explicit policies, nor any schemes for systematic recording of incidents of homophobic bullying or violence are in place by the state. Furthermore, the treatment of LGBT families by public authorities, including various administrative procedures, is often marked by indirect discrimination, such as through the privileges enjoyed by married employees in the field education regarding placements, transfers and movements (Report of the Equality body No. A.K.I 11/2004, cited in Trimikliniotis & Karayianni, 2008). Cyprus currently offers no form of legal recognition of same-sex partnerships, or adoption by same-sex couples and consequently no safeguarding of the rights of LGBT partners, parents, or families. On some occasions, this legal gap resulted in denial of asylum or residence
16 Running Head: Background 7 status to same-sex partners of Cypriots. The Commissioner of Administration, has examined complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation (cases ΑΚΡ 103/2008, ΑΚΡ 213/2008, ΑΚΡ 68/2008, AKΡ 142/2009, ΑΚΡ 40/2009, ΑΚΡ 76/2009, ΑΚΡ 16/2010) and has repeatedly pointed out the need for legal recognition of same-sex relationships by the state (Authority against Racism and Discrimination, 2008; Nicolaou, 2009; 2010). Although the Commissioner of Administration reported that the Director General of the Ministry Interior assured that the recommendations would be taken into account (Nicolaou, 2009), additional complaints whereby residency was denied to the same-sex partners of Cypriot citizens because the partnership is not recognized by the state followed. In March 2010, the Authority against Racism and Discrimination (an authority under the auspices of the office of the Commissioner of Administration published a report on the legal rights of same-sex couples in relationships. The report specifically states that the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships, is, under present circumstances warranted under the principle of equal treatment, since the current legal vacuum creates unavoidable disparities at the expense of those persons, that are not open to any convincing justification (Nicolaou, 2010, p.12; emphasis added). Despite the direct urges by the Commissioner of Administration, the prospect of legalizing same-sex partnerships has received little attention. So far, only one political party (DH.SY, 2010) has issued an official opinion on the subject, which expressed opposition to same-sex marriage. Despite occasional public debates, the matter has not yet seriously been debated among decision makers, nor are any specific legal propositions currently being discussed. Public Opinion. At the same time, public opinion in Cyprus remains wary of the prospect of legalizing same-sex partnerships. Eurobarometer reports (2006, 2008) place Cyprus in the lowest ranks among EU countries regarding agreement with same-sex marriage, and national
17 Running Head: Background 8 opinion surveys (e.g. Research Centre of Cyprus College, 2006, SIGMA TV, 2011) document, not only low agreement with same-sex marriage, but also low tolerance and comfort around homosexual persons. In 2006 and 2008, Eurobarometer surveys conducted across EU Member States examined discrimination across the EU and included questions about attitudes towards, and acceptance of homosexuality. In 2006, the Eurobarometer examined attitudes toward same-sex marriage in every Member State. While 44% of EU citizens agreed that such marriages should be allowed throughout Europe, the score for Cyprus was much lower, at 14 per cent, followed only by Romania, with 11 percent. Agreement with adoption by same-sex couples was lower only in Poland and Malta (7%); the figure for Cyprus (10%), was significantly lower compared to the EU average (32%), and much lower than the Netherlands which scored highest (69% agreement). The 2008 Eurobarometer continues to rank Cyprus among the most conservative and least tolerant states in Europe. The 2008 Eurobarometer asked respondents to indicate, on the comfort scale from 1 to 10 (higher values indicating greater comfort), how comfortable they would feel with having a homosexual holding the highest political office in their country. Cyprus along with Bulgaria, ranked the lowest (with a mean score of 3.5, compared to the EU average of 7.0). Whereas over a third of Europeans (36%) would feel totally comfortable (giving a rating of 10 out of 10), the corresponding figure for Cyprus, along with Bulgaria was only 3.5, which was the lowest in the EU. The first comprehensive attitude study regarding homosexuality in Cyprus was commissioned and funded by the Office of the Commissioner of Administration, in 2006 and conducted by the Research Centre of Cyprus College. The study investigated Attitudes and perceptions of the public towards homosexuality among a random stratified sample (N = 500),
18 Running Head: Background 9 using personal interviews in households. Results indicated that the Cypriot society remains conservative and unwilling to abandon traditional beliefs about social and sexual norms or gender roles, with low tolerance for homosexuality. Specifically, 54% responded that same-sex sexual relations are always wrong and 51% reported they feel very or rather uncomfortable being around homosexual persons. Most notably, a whopping 93% would definitely or rather have a problem if they had a homosexual babysitter for their child, 86% with a teacher and 81% with a close relative. Seventy six percent (76%) disagreed or strongly disagreed with same-sex marriage, although only 31% disagreed or strongly disagreed with homosexual couples having the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. More recently, a poll conducted by Prime Consulting on behalf of the TV program Europyxida of Sigma TV entitled Stigma and Racism (2011), measured attitudes of the public toward homosexuality. Participants were 634 men and women who were identified through random stratified sampling and who completed structured questionnaires over the telephone. In line with previous studies, results indicate low acceptance of homosexual persons, although a clear division was observed between younger and older age groups. Whereas all young persons (aged 18-24) would accept the friendly company of homosexuals (77% answered definitely yes ), acceptance decreased for older age groups (45% definitely yes for ages and 35-44, 43% for ages 45-54, 19% for ages 55-64, 7% for ages 65-74; respondents aged over 75 reported no acceptance of homosexuals as friends, with 50% responding definitely no, and the rest responding I do not know ). Regarding views on same-sex marriage, 59% indicated they disagree or strongly disagree, 26% indicated they agree or strongly agree, and 15% expressed no opinion. These opinions appear somewhat more tolerant compared to the survey
19 Running Head: Background 10 conducted on behalf of the Ombudswoman in 2006, especially among younger participants, but remain predominantly conservative. Some supplementary information on perceptions of sexual orientation is provided in the context of wider studies on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of young people. Such studies overall document limited knowledge on sexuality and sexual reproductive health among young people in Cyprus, a powerful influence of the church in sexual development, and wide prevalence of myths and misconceptions (Kouta, 2004; Kouta & Raftopoulos, 2010). Confusion appears prevalent among young people when it comes to attitudes on issues that are considered controversial, such as homosexuality, and negative stereotypes appear widespread even among the young populations studied (Kapsou, 2006; Lesta et al., 2008). It is postulated that a powerful and conservative Orthodox Christian Church, along with the lack of regular Comprehensive Sexuality Education in schools, or even through non-formal avenues, are among the forces contributing to the persistence of negative attitudes toward LGBT people and same-sex partnerships among Cypriots. These are discussed next. Sexuality in Education. Sexuality education can have a vital role in providing information and knowledge regarding LGBT issues, addressing prejudices and stereotypes, changing attitudes and perceptions, and promoting acceptance irrespective of sexual orientation. The necessity for Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is therefore repeatedly stressed by both human rights and public health experts, who have repeatedly issued declarations and positions in favour of CSE programs for adolescents and young people (IPPF, 1996; APA, 2005; YouAct, 2008; CYC, 2009). In Cyprus, sexuality education is neither legally mandated, nor implemented on a regular basis in schools. Since 2002, a pilot sexuality education program, taught by biology teachers, was implemented in six of a total of 68 junior high schools. The
20 Running Head: Background 11 program was implemented in parallel with the health education program and often had no specifically assigned teaching hours, so was rather circumstantial. In other schools, sexuality issues were sporadically addressed throughout various courses in the school curriculum, such as biology, home economics, religious instruction, and optional courses such as family education and health education. LGBT issues are not part of this curriculum and not explicitly incorporated or referred to in any of the above courses. Thus, currently, the topic of sexual orientation is not formally addressed in schools. In light of a recent educational reform, a new health education curriculum for Health Education has been compiled (Ioannou, Kouta, & Charalambous, 2010), which includes elements of Comprehensive Sexuality Education and addresses the issue of sexual orientation. Implementation of the new school curricula is planned for the school year of , but the Health Education program has no specifically assigned teaching hours at this point, it will be incorporated in other courses. Up to now no specific timelines were given for the health education program. Trimikliniotis & Karayianni (2008) identify heteronormativity as the master narrative that everyone is expected to obey (p. 17) in the context of the public educational system in Cyprus. Deviations are considered taboo and treated with embarrassment, whether these appear in the context of school work, or among the students or staff themselves, who rather tend to wrap matters in an awkward silence (p. 17). The most likely response to an incident of homophobia or bullying would be to treat it cautiously, so it does not become openly known. At the same time, religious instruction remains a compulsory and influential subject in public schools, which, following the Greek Orthodox tradition, treats homosexuality as a sin.
21 Running Head: Background 12 Non formal education in relation to sexuality, including LGBT issues is also lacking. According to the Commissioner of Administration s report on reproductive and sexual rights, the only organization which systematically deals with sexual reproductive health and rights is the Cyprus Family Planning Association. (Nicolaou, 2010b, p.11). More recently, the launching and activity of an organised and visible LGBT rights group, accept-lgbt Cyprus, seems to contribute to increased visibility and discussion around LGBT issues. LGBT advocacy in Cyprus It is not surprising that, given the powerful influence of conservative forces such as the Church, and the inadequate provision of formal or informal sexuality education, as discussed above, public discourse on LGBT issues in Cyprus is limited. LGBT issues and discussions about homophobia remain taboo and are rarely openly discussed. In fact, discussions are sporadic in the media and the political sector, and rare in schools, families or in any other public discourse. Consequently, important issues of access to housing, welfare services, insurance, and employment benefits for LGBT couples or partners have never been openly addressed in Cyprus, except through reports of the Commissioner of Administration following specific complaints. Although Article 21 of the Cypriot Constitution guarantees the freedom of Assembly, direct criminalization until 1998, and the conservative prevailing climate that continues to the present day, largely inhibited much of free expression and formal organization pertaining LGBT activism so far. Consequently, in Cyprus there still is no formally registered LGBT organization. At least two organizations that are not yet formally registered have been the primary actors who led efforts to promote LGBT rights. Since the 1980s and up until the early 2000s, LGBT rights in Cyprus were predominantly represented by the Cyprus Gay Liberation Movement (AKOK, or Apeleftherotiko Kinima Omofilofilon Kiprou, founded in 1987). The main figure associated with
22 Running Head: Background 13 this movement was gay activist Alecos Modinos, who was successful, through his personal efforts described above, in helping to repeal the civilian criminal prohibitions regarding homosexuality, by taking the case of Modinos vs. Cyprus to the European Court of Human Rights. In 2009, a group was formed in order to protect the assertion and promotion of the rights and interests of LGBT people, and to help combat associated prejudices, stereotypes, stigmas, and social exclusion; raising awareness, and informing the community itself as well as the general public, the family, institutions, organised or non-organised institutions, and society in general, in matters of sexuality, identity gender, sexual orientation and sexual health. Later to be known as accept-lbgt Cyprus and currently undergoing the process of acquiring NGO status, this group initiated important activities such as press conferences, workshops, awareness campaigns, and other activities. Up to now there have never been any gay pride gatherings or LGBT demonstrations in Cyprus. A gay parade is planned to be held in The present study Overall, apart from some useful country reports and case studies, mostly from a legal perspective, empirical evidence on LGBT issues in Cyprus is scarce. Existing evidence from public opinion surveys or in the context of other studies so far, documents widespread homophobia, misconceptions, and low tolerance or acceptance of LGBT people (Research Centre of Cyprus College, 2006, Sigma TV, 2011). Cypriots do not feel comfortable associating with LGBT individuals, do not appear willing to accept them in their own family environment, and are resistant to the prospect of introducing legal provisions for the recognition of same-sex partnerships. However, the actual impact of this prevailing homophobic climate for LGBT persons living in Cypriots has received little scrutiny. The few studies available documenting the
23 Running Head: Background 14 experiences of LGBT persons (e.g. Phellas, 2002), deal with gay men, in a specific cultural context (Cypriot men living in London); lesbian women and transgender persons have received little to no attention in studies. This invisibility of lesbian women and transgender persons is also reflected in legislation, public discourse and public perceptions. The present project was conducted as a necessary first attempt to further document the sociopolitical climate through a systematic analysis of ongoing discourse, and to examine the experiences, needs and challenges that LGB(T) people face in Cyprus, pertaining to discrimination and violations of LGBT people s human rights. Two parallel studies were run in order to achieve the goals of mapping the socio-political climate and the experiences of the LGB-community in Cyprus respectively. These studies are presented in the sections that follow. The first part of this report presents Study 1, which is primarily concerned with mapping the current sociopolitical climate around LGBT issues in Cyprus, through analysis and discussion of the findings of the first systematic attempt to record and analyse relevant press articles and statements pertaining to LGBT issues, throughout the 3-year period between and Study 2 presents a first systematic attempt to document the experiences of LGBT persons themselves in various aspects of their daily experience, including family, work, school, and services, which were provided through an anonymous questionnaire. It should be clarified that the situation, experiences, and climate presented through the results of this study should only be considered reflective of the mostly Greek Cypriot area, under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus. Specifically, newspapers included in Study 1 are circulated in the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus and mostly refer to and discuss events pertaining to this region.
24 Running Head: Background 15 Participants of the quantitative survey in Study 2 referred to their experiences while in Cyprus (area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus).
25 Running Head: Background 16 References American Psychological Association (APA, 2005). Resolution in Favor of Empirically Supported Sex Education and HIV Prevention Programs for Adolescents. Cyprus Youth Council (2009). Policy Document on Sexuality Education. Available at: Democratic Rally (DH.SY, 2010, June 4th). On the Issue of homosexuality. Available at Eurobarometer (2007). Discrimination in the European Union, Summary. Available at Eurobarometer (2009). Discrimination in the European Union: Perceptions, Experiences, and Attitudes. Available at European Court of Human Rights (1993) Modinos v. Cyprus, no /89. Available at European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (2009). The Social Situation concerning Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation in Cyprus. Available at: NR_CY.pdf Georgiou, G.J., Modinos., A., Papageorgiou, N., Papantoniou, L., & Peristianis, N.(2006). Cyprus - The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. Nicosia, Cyprus: Wittenberg University. ILGA-Europe (2011). Rainbow Europe Map and Index. Availabe at _2011
26 Running Head: Background 17 International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF, 1996). Charter on Sexual and Reproductive Rights. Ioannou, S., Kouta, C., & Charalambous, N. (2010) Health Education Curriculum, Pedagogical Institute of Cyprus, Ministry of Education ISBN: Available at: Kapsou, M., (2006). Country Report, Cyprus, in Chruściel, E. (ed.), Youth s Voice: Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Central and Eastern Europe and Balkan countries. Astra Network, Warsaw, Poland. Kouta C. (2004). Sexuality, sexual and reproductive health. An exploration of the knowledge attitudes and beliefs of Greek-Cypriot adolescents. Phd thesis, Middlesex University, UK. Kouta, C., & Raftopoulos, V. (2010). A Descriptive Model of Emergent Sexuality in Greek Cypriot Adolescents. Health Science Journal, 4, Lesta, S., Lazarus, J.V., & Essen, B. (2008). Young Cypriots on Sex Education: Sources and Adequacy of Information Received on Sexuality Issues. Sex Education, 8, Nicolaou, I. (2009). Report of the Equality Authority against Racism and Discrimination in relation to respecting for the principle of equal treatment of same-sex couples in registered partnerships in the context of the Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of EU citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States. Nicosia, Cyprus: Equality Authority against Racism and Discrimination. Nicolaou, I. (2010a). Report of the Cyprus Equality Authority against racism and discrimination on the legal safeguarding of same-sex couples in relationships. Nicosia, Cyprus: Equality Authority against Racism and Discrimination.
27 Running Head: Background 18 Nicolaou, I. (2010b). Report of the Commissioner of Administration in relation to Sexual and Reproductive Rights. Nicosia, Cyprus: Commissioner of Administration. Phellas, C. (2002). The Construction of Sexual and Cultural Identities: Greek-Cypriot Men in Britain. London: Ashgate Publishers. Phellas, C. (2005). Cypriot Gay Men s Accounts of Negotiating Cultural and Sexual Identity: A Qualitative Study. Qualitative Sociology Review, 1(2), Phellas, C.N. Philaretou, A.G., & Karagianni, S.S. (2010). Sexual Interactions: The Social Construction of Atypical Social Behaviors. («Σεξουαλικές Αλληλεπιδράσεις: Η κοινωνική δόµηση των Άτυπων Σεξουαλικών Συµπεριφορών»). Athens, Greece: Kritiki Publishers. Philaretou, A.G., Phellas, C.N., & Karayianni, S.S. (2006). Sexual Interactions: The Social Construction of Atypical Social Behaviors. Florida, USA: Universal Publishers. Polycarpou, D. (2010). Country report on the situation of LGBT people: Cyprus. European Commission. Research Centre of Cyprus College (2006). Public perception on issues of homosexuality. Nicosia, Cyprus. Sigma TV (2011). Survey on the topic of racism, conducted by Prime Market Research and Consulting Ltd, on behalf of the program Europyxida, for Sigma TV. Trimikliniotis, N., & Demetriou, C. (2008). Thematic Legal Study on Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation. Cyprus. Trimikliniotis, N., & Karayanni, S.S. (2008). The situation concerning homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation: Cyprus. Policy Document for Simfiliosi. Available at:
28 Running Head: Background 19 YouAct, the European Youth Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (2009). European Youth Charter on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: A rights-based perspective. Council of Europe, Directorate of Youth and Sport, Strasbourg, France.
29 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 20 Study 1: Mapping the Socio-political Climate Margarita Kapsou
30 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 21 Abstract This study aimed to collect and map information regarding the types of discourse pertaining to LGBT issues as it appears in contemporary Cypriot media. Relevant documentation about LGB issues collected and analyzed to map the current social and political situation included mainstream newspaper articles, and records of discussions or statements made by key figures for a three year period ( ). Discourse analysis employed included the following indicators: key phrases expressed by politicians or key figures suggesting acceptance or discrimination for LGBT people, frequency and types of homophobic expressions and expressions of opinions, attitudes of decision-makers towards LGBT rights, type of coverage by the media, and perceptions projected by the media on LGBT rights. The main topics covered in relation to LGBT issues included discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation, recognition of LGBT rights as Human Rights and legal recognition of same sex relationships. References to the situation in Cyprus in regards to LGBT issues both in the media and among public figures appeared more frequently in 2010 in comparison to the previous two years, yet the majority of LGBT related articles continues to appear in the international news sections, and thus not discussed as relevant to the local context. Although coverage of LGBT issues in the Cypriot media is mostly confined to back pages and is treated as minor news, a trend toward increased coverage and a more supportive portrayal of LGBT issues both on international level and local level was apparent, especially in Such progress can contribute to increased visibility of LGBT and promote public dialogue about LGBT rights in Cyprus.
31 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 22 Aims Study 1 specifically aimed 1) to collect records documenting and reflecting the public discourse around LGBT topics, including statements and discussions by key public figures, (e.g. politicians, decision makers, religious leaders) and case studies of rights and discrimination on LGBT issues, and 2) to analyze the topics, climate, extent, and dynamics of the public discourse around LGBT topics during the period of interest. A three year span, starting from the 1 st of January 2008 and ending on the 31 st of December 2010, was defined as the targeted range of the study. Since this study constitutes the first systematic attempt to conduct such an analysis and map the general climate around LGBT issues in Cyprus, as it is being manifested through the island s main newspapers, with little background to direct hypotheses or guide expectations, the questions investigated were, essentially, largely exploratory. More specifically, we aimed to explore the following questions: 1) How much are LGBT issues discussed or mentioned in the Cypriot press? 2) What is being discussed or mentioned about LGBT issues (in other words, which general topics that pertain to the LGBT community are most frequently presented)? 3) Who discusses LGBT issues? (e.g. whether it is mainly journalists themselves, or do most positions and commentaries come from other figures, such as decision makers, politicians, laypersons, and members or representatives of the LGBT community), 4) Where, i.e. in which newspaper sections and pages, do LGBT appear?, and 5) How are LGBT issues being presented in these references? In other words, are they being discussed in a critical manner stimulating debate, or in a merely factual manner? And finally, are they being portrayed in a positive light, treated in a human rights context, and considered locally relevant, or are they being portrayed as distant, dark, and unrelated to the reader s daily reality?
32 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 23 Method Selection of Sources Following a review of the potential sources of records reflecting public discourse, daily newspapers with island-wide circulation were selected as the most efficient and representative sources of locating records of public discourse. Other potential sources considered included television and radio programs, magazines, weekly and free newspapers, popular news websites, Internet blogs or facebook groups, as well as recordings of parliamentary plenary meetings available on the website of the Cyprus House of Representatives, statements and official positions issued by political parties, and references to LGBT issues in minutes from meeting and public panels. Newspapers were selected as both the most efficient and representative sources for several reasons. First, newspapers have the benefit of accessibility, since most widely circulated newspapers have searchable websites that include archives dating several months or years back. Second, since newspaper articles are text-based, and for the most part, searchable electronically (as opposed to, for example television or radio programs) records can easily be organised by date and topic, thus allowing for the creation of databases for future access, searches and analyses. Third, since newspapers are circulated daily and feature a diverse range of articles, it would allow collection of a substantial bulk of relevant articles and references throughout the three year period of interest, even with limited public discourse, whereas similar references to LGBT- related issues in official documents for instance, such as parliamentary plenary minutes or political party documents were likely to be too scarce to enable meaningful analysis. Fourth and most importantly, daily island-wide newspapers reflect discourse from a diverse range of stakeholders and public figures, including members of parliament, politicians, the Commissioner of Administration (Ombudswoman), NGO representatives and expert opinions, as well as opinions of the
33 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 24 general public and readers. Because of this diversity of opinions, newspapers are less likely than other sources (e.g. blogs, or internet groups) to be prone to a self-selection bias in the topics of concern or opinions reflected, and are more likely to closely reflect the diversity of opinions and perspectives throughout the island. Description of Sources The most widely circulated island-wide, daily newspapers were selected for this study. These included newspapers Phileleftheros and Politis, as well as the English language newspaper Cyprus Mail. All selected newspapers are independently owned, and not affiliated with any political party or perspective, and cover national political and local news. Phileleftheros (transliterated as The Liberal ), established in 1951 has been the most widely circulated newspaper in Cyprus (readership for 2010 estimated between ,000, Noverna, 2011; Harris Papageorgiou, personal communication, May 13, 2011) for several decades. Politis ( Citizen ), established in 1999, became popular due to its reputation for a critical focus, and quickly reached second place in newspaper circulation figures (readership for 2010 estimated between 60-65,00, Noverna, 2011; Harris Papageorgiou, personal communication, May 13, 2011). The Cyprus Mail is the only daily (except Mondays) English language newspaper in the island (several other weekly or monthly publications in English are also widely circulated, since Cyprus has a significant English-speaking population), and the oldest newspaper in the island, established in All three newspapers are read in both printed and online versions (Phileleftheros and Politis also provide archives of the print format in pdf versions). The Cyprus Mail recently also introduced a smartphone application. Data Collection Procedure A list of keywords relevant to LGBT issues was compiled by the research team and used to search newspaper websites and archives, in order to retrieve relevant articles. The keywords included words, terms, and names considered relevant to LGBT issues in Cyprus
34 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 25 (the full list of keywords is shown on Table 1.1). To ensure consistency across newspapers, the keyword search was the same across all newspapers, and the research assistants conducting the search received training to ensure that all relevant articles across newspapers were retrieved. The search was conducted using Greek words and characters for the Greekspeaking newspapers (Phileleftheros, Politis), except for words for which it is standard to use Latin characters (e.g. gay, AIDS ), and using English words and characters for Cyprus Mail. Since archives were structured differently for each newspaper, the search procedure followed was adapted accordingly in each case. Specifically, for Phileleftheros, full files for each day were downloaded in portable document format (pdf) and searched individually through the pdf search function; because the newspaper s archives for 2008 were not available through the online archive system, pdfs for all 2008 publications were provided by the newspaper upon the researchers request. For Politis and Cyprus Mail, the search was mainly conducted through the online search function; because during the last six months of data collection, the Politis website no longer supported a search function, individual pdf editions of the newspaper were downloaded and searched using the pdf search function. The research team made sure to include alternate spellings for keywords in the search procedure (e.g. «γκέι»,/«γκέυ»); also, to ensure that all instances of the words were recorded, in all forms and conjugations word stems were also used during the search (e.g. «οµοφυ-»/«σεξ-»/«homos-» etc.). Each article was subsequently scanned by the research assistant in order to verify that the presence of a keyword indeed indicated a relevant reference to LGBT issues. Articles that were considered relevant were downloaded and archived in a common database, organised by date and by newspaper, for further scanning, coding, and analysis. References in newspaper advertisements, or descriptions of movies or television shows were not included. Article content ranged from mere references to LGBT-related keywords to articles with a main or exclusive focus on sexual orientation.
35 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 26 Coding The aim of the coding procedure was to identify and analyze key phrases expressed by politicians or key figures suggesting acceptance or discrimination for LGBT people, frequency and types of homophobic expressions, attitudes of decision-makers towards LGBT rights, type of coverage by the media, and perceptions projected by the media on LGBT rights. In order to facilitate and standardize this process, the researchers developed a detailed Code Frame, which defined headings and indicators as codes to collect information. The Code Frame developed was based on the coding methodology used by the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP, e.g. Gallagher, 2005) and adapted to encompass the themes and patterns of the representation of LGTB issues in the media. The headings and codes aimed to summarize media content into specific thematic categories of interest. The codes used related to the objectives of the analysis and captured the various reactions of key persons to LGBT issues. In addition, the codes aimed to encapsulate not only the specific content of the media representations but also took into account the function of the author, the story angle, the type of language used and the overall feeling conveyed. Headings were provided for several technical characteristics (e.g. page number where it appears, section of newspaper where it appears, type of article, author etc.) as well as contents (e.g. general topic covered, opinions or expressed etc.). The Code Frame contained detailed numerical codes for each heading, in order to provide indicators for the range of different possible responses (e.g. article types, general and specific topic(s) etc.), organised across different levels (e.g. supportiveness vs. opposition opinion expressed for a specific topic such as gay marriage). These codes were used to guide the subsequent thematic analysis and mapping of the social and political landscape and were separated into numbered sections with titles and subtitles and their corresponding number codes. The Code Frame (and specifically the section concerning the content analysis) was set up in a hierarchical tree coding structure, whereby major thematic
36 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 27 categories are further divided into subcategories. The full coding frame is presented in the Appendix. To ensure that the headings and indicators were appropriate and comprehensive, the Code Frame was adjusted to include additional codes for topics and themes identified following pilot use with a sample of articles. Coding of all the collected articles resulted in a series of tables (total of six tables, one per newspaper per year), with each row containing the complete list of codes for each individual article retrieved. Each newspaper was initially coded separately, and individual newspaper code frames were merged at the analysis stage into one comprehensive master list. Both the data collection and coding procedure were carried out by mostly volunteer research assistants, who received training and supervision from two professional researchers. A sample of articles were coded by two independent research assistants and compared in order to ensure reliability of the procedure. Analysis For the analysis, both quantitative and qualitative approaches were utilized. Initially the list of codes were exported into SPSS, and descriptive statistics were used in order to extract descriptive information, such as the frequency of articles, types of articles and main topics covered throughout the three year period. Subsequently, more in-depth analyses were conducted to identify the emerging patterns in the data in terms of the prevalent themes and attitudes expressed, such as homophobic expressions or criticisms of homophobia, references to incidents of discrimination and case studies, experiences and views expressed through interviews. These emerging themes either confirmed or contested original thoughts about certain behaviours and attitudes with regards to LGTB issues. Analyses were conducted separately for each newspaper, as well as across newspapers, aiming to identify overlapping issues, themes and patterns present throughout the press for the three-year period. Similarly, an overall analysis was conducted for the entire
37 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 28 three-year time span studied, as well as well as across years, in an effort to delineate changing patterns and trends throughout the period. Both article technical characteristics, such as type of article, as well as content parameters, such as geographical scope covered, and overall attitude expressed or presented, were also taken into account during the analysis. Certain information, however, such as article page number and reporter identity were only summarized in descriptive results where available, and not incorporated in comparative analysis, because they were not available for all newspapers and articles studied. Comparative analyses were conducted for publication source (newspaper), year, positions presented, and general and specific subjects covered. Finally, it was deemed important to engage in further, critical, in-depth analysis of the discourse pertaining to LGBT issues, as presented in the Cypriot press, since, representations of LGBT portrayals in the press can be important indicators of ongoing public discourse. The analysis was approached from a social constructivist perspective (Vygotsky 1978; Freud, 1994). Results Overall quantitative trends Frequency of references. In total, relevant articles were identified and coded. Content ranged from instances of a single mention of LGBT-related keywords to articles with a main or exclusive of focus on sexual orientation. Figure 1.1 presents the number of articles identified for each newspaper per year. The total number of articles, for all newspapers, appeared to steadily increase throughout the three year period, with the most pronounced increase noted in This pattern was observed for all three newspapers. The main patterns for the article types and content for each newspaper per year are described next. Figures Over 555 articles were identified, including articles published in the third most widely circulated Greek language newspaper, Simerini during the three-year period of interest (January 1 st December 31 st 2010); however, due to restrictions in time and human resources, these articles have not yet been coded. They have been archived in the article database for future coding and analysis.
38 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate provide an illustration of the coding followed, as they present sample articles and their corresponding coding. European/International only vs. Local/National focus. Following initial coding, LGBT related articles were categorized further into articles containing only references to European or International issues, including articles referring only to events taking place in another country, and into articles that contained at least some reference to the local or national situation (e.g. articles referring exclusively to LGBT issues in Cyprus, or articles discussing LGBT issues throughout Europe, or the world, or another country, but also linking, juxtaposing, or referring to the situation in Cyprus) 2. Throughout all three years, about 56% of articles (N = 180) included at least some reference to the local/national situation. A consistent shift from a predominance of European/International-only focus to a predominance of local focus was apparent throughout the three-year period; the percentage of articles including local/national references increased from about 46% in 2008, to 54% in 2009, and 61% in As shown on Figure 1.7, the three newspapers presented different patterns in the ratio of articles containing references to local/national issues vis-à-vis articles referring only to LGBT issues in a European or International Context, with the English language Cyprus Mail presenting the largest percentage of articles that include local/national references compared to the Greek language newspapers. Newspaper Sections. Throughout all three years, in the Greek language newspapers (section information was not available through Cyprus Mail s archive system) LGBTrelevant references articles appeared most frequently under International News (43%, N 2 As described in the Method section and as can be seen from the Code Frame (see Appendix), initial codes for article characteristics and content described in this paragraph and the paragraphs that follow were multiple and extensive. However, comprehensive presentation and discussion of the distribution for all codes would require extensive elaboration and would exceed the scope of the present report. Thus, for purposes of data reduction and in order to facilitate identification and interpretation of overall patterns, these were subsequently recoded into the broader coding categories presented here. For readers interested in a more detailed presentation and in-depth analysis of particular headings or codes, this information can be made available by the researchers.
39 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 30 =111), followed by columns/commentary sections (38%, N = 97). However, when each year was analyzed separately, differences in these trends were apparent across the three years studied (see Table 1.3). Specifically, whereas most LGBT-relevant articles in 2008 and 2009 appeared under International News sections (68% in 2008 and 61% in 2009), articles found in the column/commentary sections became the most frequent in 2010 (50% of articles, compared to 31% of articles in international news). Differences were also observed between the two newspapers, with articles being most frequent found under International News sections in Phileleftheros (36%), and under columns/commentaries for Politis (52%). Finally, whereas articles focusing on European/international events were most frequently found under International news sections (76 %), articles with local/national focus were most frequently found under columns/commentary sections (65%). Article Types. Throughout the entire time span, over half the articles identified were coded as informative (providing state-of-fact information, 55%). Commentaries and opinions were also met relatively frequently (23% and 13% respectively), and some sporadic instances of research reports (11 instances, or 3%) and interviews (7 instances, or 2%) were also identified. None of the articles retrieved was coded as a police report. Separate results for each year, publication source, and geographical focus, are presented on Table 1.4. Patterns shown on the table document a shift in 2010, whereby the percentage of articles included in the informative category decreases, with a corresponding increase in commentary and opinion articles. A discrepancy is also noted between different newspapers, with the English language Cyprus Mail containing a far larger percentage of commentary articles (50%) compared to the Greek language Phileleftheros and Politis (8% and 23% respectively), and a far lower percentage of merely informative articles (30%) compared to the Greek language newspapers, where this category was consistently dominant (67% of articles for Phileleftheros and 58% for Politis). Finally, distribution of article types appears notably
40 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 31 different between articles including local/national focus, versus only European/International focus; whereas article types in the former category were almost equally likely to be coded as commentary (38%), informative (29%) or opinion articles (21%), articles in the latter category were almost exclusively coded as informative (88%). General Subjects Covered. Figures present the frequency of general subjects covered overall and by newspaper, according to the categories provided in the Code Frame. Across all years and publication sources, the most popular topic was marriage or partnership equality (legal recognition of same-sex relationships, over 100 references). Criticism of homophobia, promotion of LGBT rights, recognition of LGBT rights as human rights, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation were also quite prevalent (over 40 references each), followed by general subjects pertaining to gender identity/expression and association, religion and homosexuality, and violence or psychological abuse on the basis of sexual orientation (over 20 references each). The remaining subjects (presentation of positions, research data, science and homosexuality, personal experiences, and active support) were sporadic, (fewer than 10 references in each case), with discussions of cultural beliefs and homosexuality 3 being the least frequent of all. As can be seen in Figures , most and least popular themes presented different patterns between publication sources, although the topic of marriage/partnership equality consistently received the greatest percentage of coverage across all the newspapers. In Phileleftheros, the second most popular general subject identified was recognition of LGBT rights as human rights, along with the theme of Religion and Homosexuality. For Politis, the theme most frequently identified following the theme of marriage/partnership equality was promotion of LGBT rights and support to LGBT persons, followed by criticism of homophobia. For Cyprus Mail, the second most frequently identified theme was 3 As per the codeframe used for the purposes of the present study (see Appendix), cultural beliefs under included gender roles, historical perspectives and patriarchical society; stereotypes/taboos, that could, conceptually, be considered as stereotypes, were coded separately.
41 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 32 discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, followed by criticism of homophobia. Least frequently identified topics for Phileleftheros were positions presented, science and homosexuality, and gender identity/expression and association; for Politis, positions presented and active support to LGBT; and for Cyprus Mail, active support to LGBT and cultural beliefs and homosexuality. General subjects focusing on personal experiences were absent for Phileleftheros, and cultural beliefs and homosexuality, political positions, and research data, were absent for Politis and Cyprus Mail, although these themes may have been presented or discussed as subsidiary in the context of some articles. Neutral vs. Positive vs. Negative attitudes expressed or presented. Coded articles were further subdivided into articles containing or presenting predominantly positive, negative, or neutral (or no-attitude ) attitudes toward LGBT rights. Attitudes could consist of attitudes of article authors, or of another figure or figures whose positions or statements are being presented. Positions were coded as neutral ( no-attitude ) if the article presented factual-only information, without condoning or condemning the presented fact, nor presenting another figure s position. Articles presenting debates and disagreements from both sides, without the author taking position, were also coded as neutral. Articles containing even partial support for LGBT rights, even if this was somewhat qualified (e.g. positions supporting civil partnership for same-sex couples but not marriage, or not making references to marriage) were coded as positive. Based on this classification, throughout the three-year span, about 42% of articles presented neutral or no attitude, 41% presented an overall positive attitude toward LGBT rights, and 17% presented an overall negative attitude. The percentage for article positions per year is shown on Table 1.2. As shown on the Table, articles were predominantly positive in 2008 and 2010, predominantly neutral or without expressing opinion in 2009, while 2010 presented a notable increase in negative attitudes expressed compared to previous years. These trends were also analyzed separately for articles with a mainly local/national and with
42 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 33 only European/international focus (see Table 1.2). This analysis revealed an overall tendency for articles with European/international focus to be predominantly factual, and hence to be more likely to maintain a neutral or no-attitude stance, compared to articles containing references to the local/national situation, which more frequently presented opinions, both positive and negative(to varying degrees). A more in-depth analysis of opinions presented for two of the most popular general subjects identified (recognition of same-sex partnerships, and criticism of homophobia) is included in the next section. Content Analysis by Newspaper Phileleftheros. In 2008, 11 relevant articles were identified, mostly in the newspaper s middle pages (13-20), and sections covering international news and events ( World ), with little or no explicit link or reference to Cypriot reality. One major exception was identified in the newspaper s opinion section (Charalambous, 2008, p.19), where readers were asked to express their opinions about the prospect of legalizing same-sex marriage in Cyprus; in this article readers expressed opinions appeared mixed, while the article headlines and commentary section characterized public opinion on the matter as divided, and concluded that, due to the prevalent taboos and confusion, the prospect of legalizing same-sex marriage appears impossible. The commentator went on to highlight the need for tackling the homophobia characteristic of Cypriots, stating that in European Cyprus, in 2008, it is inconceivable for homosexuality to be treated as a disease or some kind of disability. With the exception of this article, all other references were mostly factual, with no opinion being expressed, nor presented by the authors. Some articles also presented and discussed ongoing developments about legalization of same-sex partnerships in Greece (e.g. Homosexuals in Greece call for Marriage, 2008, p. 13; Psara, 2008, p. 13). No references or reports about the 2008 LGBT pride events in Athens were identified.
43 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 34 In 2009, 23 relevant articles were identified, which, although increased in number, continued a largely similar pattern with the previous year. Relevant references being identified mostly in middle pages (14-17), although a single front page reference was identified (Hadjistylianou, 2009, p. 1). Most articles remained predominantly factual, with no opinions being expressed or presented, and presented under international sections (most articles under the section World ), although references to the local or national situation were more frequent compared to Notably, most locally relevant articles (three of five total) were identified, in relation to HIV/AIDS. Perhaps because of this trend, for 2009, the predominant general subject identified was discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, rather than marriage/partnership equality. More specifically, one article, (Kasinidou, 2009, p.40), referred to a research study aiming to study the sexual behaviour of homosexual men, with the main aim to inform them about sexual health issues and especially HIV. A second article (Kasinidou, 2009, p. 31), with the tagline we are holding the sceptres of discrimination against homosexuals, referred to sexual orientation in the context of AIDS. The article made references to statistical evidence presenting Cyprus as the country with the most discrimination toward homosexual persons (percentages of discrimination are double those of the European average).a third article, (Panagi, 2009, p. 29), presented two case studies of persons living with HIV in Cyprus, including a 30 year old gay man. The article places extensive emphasis on the person s experiences of rejection by their family and the wider Cypriot society, because of his sexual orientation: Two years later, he disclosed to his parents the fact that he was homosexual, and as he states, their reaction was the same with the one that almost all Cypriot parents have on such occasions. They rejected me. Later on, the article presents this rejection as related to the lack of a support network for the HIV positive individual following diagnosis, and to his experiences of identity conflict in his daily life:
44 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 35 I am the professional, who, of course, is not homosexual. I am the homosexual who cannot have his personal life, and I am also my real self, the young, professional, homosexual patient with AIDS. Another article (Dalitis, 2009, p. 32), presented a study conducted by a local university on diversity and racism, and highlighted the observation that young people are more receptive and tolerant to diversity, including sexual orientation, compared to older individuals. Finally, earlier in the year, one front page article (Hadjistylianou, 2009, p. 1) referred to recent Cypriot hotel owners turn toward homosexual couples by listing hotels and villas as gay friendly, and further discussed this as trend already under way in the Northern part of the island. The overall coverage and percentage of local references continued to increase in In total, 54 relevant articles were identified; although a substantial percentage of these were still found under the international news section ( World ), LGBT-relevant articles which appeared on a greater range of page numbers and sections, with a significant proportion of articles appearing under locally relevant newspaper sections such as columns, letters, opinions, politics, and local news. This changing trend was also reflected in the noted increases in percentages of articles classified as locally relevant, and discussing, for the most part, the general subject of marriage/partnership equality. Although the newspaper s stance appeared to remain mostly neutral, opinion pieces by readers or external commentators that did express opinions of both pro- and anti-lgbt rights perspectives were published. Some articles were critical of comments or behaviours that were perceived as homophobic, and included an opinion by conservative party DH.SY s youth sector member Xenia Constantinou (Constantinou, X., 2010, p. 35) and a reader s letter (Charalambous, 2010, p. 8); other articles rejected LGBT rights as human rights and described LGBT rights campaigns as offensive, such as an article by conservative party MP Andreas
45 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 36 Themistocleous (Themistocleous, 2010, p. 6) 4, and a reader s letter, protesting in response to an antidiscrimination advert (Nicolaou Christou, 2010, p. 8). Phileleftheros increased coverage of LGBT issues as locally or nationally relevant throughout 2010, is best illustrated by a full page presentation and interview of gay activist Alecos Modinos (Hadjistylianou, 2010, p. 27), describing his experiences as an activist and commenting on the current situation, and a half-page long reference to the launching of accept-lgbt Cyprus (Panagi, 2010, p. 21). Discussions of claims to marriage and partnership equality were rather frequent (e.g. Hadjistylianou, 2010, p. 32; p. 40), and even appeared on the first page (Hadjistylianou, 2010, p. 1), while several commentaries on the notorious public statements made by MP Mr. Andreas Themistocleous also appeared (e.g. Hadjidimitriou, 2010a, Hadjistylianou, 2010, p. 40). Politis. In 2008, 27 relevant articles were identified, mostly found in the paper s middle pages (pp ), and mostly under International news sections. The most frequently identified general subject pertained to marriage and partnership equality, presenting both international efforts and developments (e.g. Gay priest married his partner with religious wedding, 2008, p. 9; What might God tell us? About gays. 2008, p.9), as well as statements made by the Commissioner of Administration on a national level (Kalatzis, 2008, p. 48). Cypriot MEP Marios Matsakis reaction to an LGBT-campaign in the European Parliament, which he described as offensive, also captured the newspaper s attention (Ntziani, 2008, p. 41) 5. The campaign involved a photo exhibition entitled Different 4 Conservative party DH.SY. s MP, Mr. Andreas Themistocleous, through a series of anti-lgbt statements, stirred considerable debate around LGBT issues in early and mid-2010, and received considerable media coverage and criticism. Mr. Themistocleous initial statement, in verbatim were: just because there exist among us paedophiles, people who practice bestiality, necrophiliacs and other criminals, should the state legitimise their status too? ; this was followed by several additional statements and articles furthering his anti-lgbt position. These are explicated and discusses in more detail in the Discussion section of the present report. 5 In 2008, Cypriot MEP Dr. Marios Matsakis (of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe), reacted to an invitation to the exhibition Different Families, Same Love, at the European Parliament, by stating that he was offended by the images of LGBT families displayed on the invitation. The exhibition presented posters portraying LGBT families. Following posters being posted outside Dr. Matsakis office, the MEP
46 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 37 Families, Same Love, which the MEP criticized as offensive, evoking criticism by LGBT rights groups and admonishment by the European Parliament. Most articles maintained a neutral stance or did not express or present an opinion, but of those articles that did present opinions, some criticized anti-lgbt statements or acts, such as the authorities refusal to grant political asylum to a gay man (Costakopoulos, 2008, p. 48), others presented the marriage equality issue in a light-hearted manner, talking about Weddings for all tastes (2008, p.9), while one small reference to the opinion of the Greek Orthodox Church which condemns homosexuality (Church: No comment, 2008, p. 48) was also included. No reference to Athens Pride events for 2008 was identified. Throughout 2009, the number of LGBT-relevant articles identified slightly increased (34 such articles) compared to the previous year, covered a greater range of pages (pp. 9-40), but again were predominantly located under international news sections, with little reference to the local or national situation, and the newspaper s stance remaining, for the most part, neutral. Discrimination based on sexual orientation was the subject presented most frequently (e.g. Racism against gays, p. 10; Andreou, 2009, p. 10). Instances of locally relevant articles that included opinions included an article that described Cypriots as otherphobic, and articles that presented Eurobarometer results, according to which the second most prevalent type of discrimination in Cyprus and Greece (with ethnic identity being the first), is discrimination based on sexual preference (Sarantopoulou, T., 2009, p. 41), and an article presenting the case of a young gay prison guard who filed a complaint to the Commissioner of Administration for unfair treatment because of his sexual orientation (Kalatzis, 2009, p. 21). In 2010, Politis presented both a dramatic increase in the number of LGBT-relevant articles identified, and a dramatic shift in content, compared to the previous two years. This wrote a protest letter to the President of the European Parliament.
47 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 38 was reflected by an increase in page span (pp.3-74), as well as a change in sections where such articles appeared, with more articles appearing under locally or nationally relevant column sections, rather than international sections. The main focus shifted from a mostly international, to a largely national or local focus, with numerous commentaries (about 50), opinion pieces (40), interviews (16), and letters (50). Opinions and experiences of LGBT persons were increasingly presented through interviews (e.g. Lysandrou 2010, p. 22), or by LGBT persons themselves through letters and opinion pieces, albeit anonymously or using pseudonyms (e.g. O Toioutos, 2010a, p.3; 2010b, p.3; 2010c., p.3; Ch.I., 2010, p. 14), even with one gay persona (using the pseudonym O Toioutos, literally of that kind, an anachronistic epithet for gay ) appearing in a recurring column («Υπογάστριο» or Underbelly ) under a section called Window, dealing with LGBT issues from a firstperson perspective and written in the Cypriot Greek dialect. Discrimination against LGBT persons, homophobia, and marriage and partnership equality, centring around requests of same-sex relationship recognition by Cypriots, and discussions of the possibility of regulating civil marriage or partnership arrangements for same-sex couples in Cyprus, were among he frequently presented and discussed subjects (e.g. Savva, 2010, p. 41; Kalatzis, 2010, p. 38). Although both pro- and anti-lgbt rights opinions were presented and hosted (e.g. Theocharous, 2010, p. 12; Themistocleous, 2010, p.14; Theodosiou, 2010, p. 12), the newspaper s journalists, commentators, and host authors, heavily criticized and even mocked Mr. Themistocleous anti-lgbt statements (e.g. Stavrinides, 2010, p. 67; Papaleontiou, 2010, p.14; Sinigoros, 2010b, p. 9), as well as his political party s (Democratic Rally, DH.SY) failure to discipline their MP and apologize for the irate comments (e.g. Playing the fool today as well, Mr. Anastasiades?, 2010, p. 13; Constantinou, C., 2010b, p. 13). These commentary and opinion pieces used emphatic titles such as Internationally ridiculed (Constantinou, C., 2010, p.4), Homophobic, not. conveniently hermaphrodite (referring
48 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 39 to political party DH.SY. s conspicuously ambiguous reaction to their MP s statements; Constantinou, C., 2010c, p.13) and He insists, misdirects, and vilifies you (referring to MP Mr. Andreas Themistocleous and addressed to his political party DH.SY.; 2010, p. 13), and often employed harsh language to highlight what was perceived as failure of the authorities to secure basic human rights, and conspicuous efforts of political leaders to avoid discussions and evade responsibility. One article, for instance, describes the authorities handling of the case of an HIV positive British citizen, who was arrested, and nearly deported, as unacceptable, claiming that they [the authorities] messed up, and are now exposed (Kalatzis, 2010, p. 62). Another commentary article directly addresses the Democratic Rally s president, Nicos Anastasiades, following a letter sent to the column s author by Mr. Andreas Themistocleous lawyer, threatening for libel lawsuits for calling the MP a racist in a previous article commentary. In response to the libel threats, the article addresses the party s president, calling him to give his MP two words of advice, and comments the following: If, however, Mr. Anastasiades, any MPs of yours think that, while stating such squalors (asking for returns, instead of withdrawing them), the media and any other citizens feel disgust when they hear them, then they should shut up, and, when they don t do so, they should be threatened with lawsuits, then it might be a good idea to give them two words of advice. Two words about what you (or at least what you claim to) represent as a political party. Otherwise, you should close off the (so European, otherwise) club. Because, either you cannot handle them, or you know and approve of these intimidation tactics. Either way, we DO NOT WITHDRAW one letter from what we wrote. Not even half. (Constantinou, C., 2010d, p. 13; capitals in original). The public television network s (CyBC) refusal to air anti-discrimination public announcement commercials also received profound criticism through the newspaper s commentators (e.g. O Toioutos, 2010b, p. 3; Sinigoros 2010a, p. 9). On the other hand, several positive commentaries and presentations on the launching and activities of accept- LGBT Cyprus were published around the same time period (e.g. Hadjiapostolou, P., 2010, p. 37; Hoplarou, 2010b, p. 25). One commentator, notably, commends accept-lgbt Cyprus efforts, for shaking the prevalent hypocrisy (He is somewhere. And does not bite! 2010, p. 13). A growing appetite for critical discourse and social critique, that appeared to be
49 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 40 lacking in previous years, is found in articles such as and in-depth theoretical analysis of the deep links between social homophobia and religion in a reader s letter on behalf of the Cyprus Freethinkers Society (Savvides, 2010, p. 42), and a column reviewing the various cultural and historical perceptions and manifestations of homosexuality, entitled Were there gays in 1700 B.C.? (Hoplarou, 2010a, p. 25). Such articles may illustrate an ongoing social maturation process that was underway in public discourse at the time, and that was reflected in the press. Cyprus Mail 6. In 2008, 20 relevant articles were identified, which included references to both the local/national, and European/international context, and which dealt with a variety of topics, including positions on LGBT rights, sexual identity and expression, marriage and partnership equality, and support for LGBT rights (e.g. Christou, 2008b; Leonidou, 2008; Evripidou, 2008a; 2008d), and criticism of the prevailing homophobic attitudes throughout Cyprus (Cypriots admit to widespread discrimination, 2008), including one article presenting personal experiences (27 July 2008, by Jill Campbell McKay). A topic that captured the newspaper s attention and evoked commentaries was Cypriot MEP Marios Matsakis reaction to an LGBT-campaign in the European Parliament (e.g. Evripidou, 2008b; 2008c; Christou, 2008a; Cashman, 2008). Anti-LGBT commentaries, primarily from reader s letters, were also published (e.g. Demetriou, 2008). In 2009, 12 relevant articles were identified, consisting mainly of commentaries, opinions, and research. The newspaper continued to place equal focus on local/national and 6 Indicators such as page numbers and newspaper sections where the articles appeared are not reported for Cyprus Mail. The newspaper s electronic database was based on an electronic search function that yielded web-based versions of articles, which did not include references to the corresponding sections and page numbers of the original publication. Since no pdf archives in the original printed format were available through the Cyprus Mail s website, which could have provided an alternate search mechanism yielding information including original page number and section, this information was not retrieved for Cyprus Mail. Furthermore, because of these differences in the newspaper s online search system, some articles that were published in the newspaper s print version, but not included in the newspaper s online version, may have not been retrieved. We do, however, believe that the sample of articles collected is adequately representative of the newspaper s overall treatment of LGBT issues, since any smaller references not included may be considered of lesser importance by the newspaper itself.
50 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 41 European/international events and issues, while on two occasions, the experiences of LGBT persons were presented (Jacques, 2009; Christodoulides, 2009). Most frequently identified general subjects were marriage and partnership equality, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and recognition of LGBT rights as human rights (e.g. Theodoulou, 2009; Hassapi, 2009; Time to decide whether you support human rights for all, 2009). Similar patterns were repeated for the 24 articles identified in 2010, with the local/national news becoming more frequent than European/international, and the marriage/partnership equality issue remaining primary (e.g. Charalambous, 2010) and treated as more urgent compared to references made in previous years. One article, for instance, reporting on the Ombudswoman s report on partnership equality, talks of the Ombudswoman, Iliana Nicolaou calling the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships in Cyprus as imperative in today s society, and noting that The need to legally enshrine cohabitation becomes more urgent (Evripidou, 2010a). Numerous articles and commentaries discussed MP s Andreas Themistocleous comments (e.g. Hazou 2010; 30 April 2010; Agathocleous, 2010; Evripidou 2010b), and at least one commentary about CyBC s refusal to air anti-discrimination spots (Dewhurst, 2010a). Despite the newspaper s tendency to maintain a predominantly neutral stance, various opinions were also presented. Some letters expressed attitudes criticizing homophobia (e.g. Marios A., 2010; Mackay, 2010), and some articles explicitly supported gay rights including gay marriage (e.g. O Hara, 2010; Evripidou, 2010c), or criticized the prevailing homophobic attitudes in Cyprus (e.g. Cyprus fingered again over negative attitude to gays, 2009), while some readers letters expressed doubts about LGBT rights (Demtetriou, 2008; A. Dinou, 2010) was also featured. Pro-LGBT attitudes were expressed both from a human rights but also from an economic perspective (e.g. Dewhurst, 2010b). The latter article, features the opinions of owners and managers of same-sex marriage and honeymoon firms, who claim that opening up the gay marriage market could significantly boost the
51 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 42 island s economy, but presents the hesitation for such a move on the part of the Cypriot wedding and tourist industry who appear pessimistic about Cypriots' readiness to accept gay marriage ; the article s author describes the Cyprus wedding tourist industry as slow to sense opportunity in this sector, and proposes that the economy can be another issue that could sway the debate, in addition to the the moral and legal issues disputed by campaigners. Overall Content Analysis and Mapping Mapping opinions in LGBT discourse: Stakeholders, LGBT allies and Opposition. A general mapping of stakeholders was initially conducted taking into account that one article could be presenting or expressing various opinions. This analysis was therefore conducted on the level of opinions rather than on the level of individual articles, and examined the identities and functions of article authors, and of figures whose opinions on a variety of LGBT issues were expressed or presented through the collected articles. Apart from journalists, some articles and opinions pieces were written by newspaper readers, politicians and diplomats, NGO representatives, other experts (e.g. academics, lawyers), and LGBT persons. The main categories of actors and stakeholders, whose opinions were expressed or presented were: Representatives of NGOs, LGBT groups, activists, and LGBT persons; politicians, including national Ministers, members of parliament, and political party representatives and members; government authorities, primarily the Commissioner of Administration and the Equality Authority - against racism and discrimination; representatives of the business/industry sector, and media representatives: foreign diplomats, foreign and EU officials, and MEPs; academics; religious figures; and, to a lesser extent, police representatives, judges, lawyers, educators, laypersons, and young persons. Overall, the main stakeholders identified as allies, along with LGBT and other NGOs and activists, were the Ombudswoman and the Equality Authority; with few exceptions, religious figures,
52 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 43 both nationally and abroad were the most negative; while opinions of other national officials, politicians, the local business/industry and media sectors, as well as laypersons, were rather mixed, with a wide spectrum of opinions ranging from strong opposition, neutral or mixed attitude, and explicit support being expert throughout. In order to obtain a more analytical examination of the discourse generated by the various stakeholders, and enable a mapping of the socio-political landscape, a thorough, indepth analysis was conducted for the spectrum of opinions presented for the most popular general subject identified, namely recognition of same-sex partnerships. A combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches was employed for this purpose. For this analysis, we were distinctively interested in opinions expressed on a local/national level. Therefore, opinions expressed in articles with solely European or international focus, were not considered. Spectrum of views on Marriage/Partnership Equality. According to the subheadings and indicators defined in our code frame (see Appendix), the spectrum of opinions on Marriage Partnership Equality could range across six levels for marriage and partnership equality, ranging with one pole (anti-lgbt) being opposes civil partnership and same-sex marriage, the other (pro-lgbt pole) being supports civil partnership and same-sex marriage, and in-between opinions such as partly supports same-sex unions under certain preconditions and presumptions, and supports civil partnership but not same-sex marriage. Four additional code levels indicated support or opposition to the right of LGBT people to found a family. This process resulted in a mapping each of the various individual stakeholders on one of three broad levels (opposes, neutral/mixed opinion, and supportive), on the pro- and anti- spectrum regarding same-sex marriage. The resulting classification is presented on Table 1.5. A sample of statements across the opinion spectrum was then further
53 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 44 scrutinized for their actual content, vocabulary and arguments used. Below, some indicative statements of positions classified as supportive, mixed, or opposing, are presented: Supportive: Political/Rights-based: In addition, the institution of a "Partnership" responds not only to the evolutionary and readjusting trend in modern society, but also removes discrimination and consolidates the egalitarianism of all citizens regardless of sexual orientation. That is, the Partnership can be seen in the state an effective cure for the gap that currently exists in relation to safeguarding the rights of gay couples, provided of course that the Partnership will be applied without discrimination. (Constantinou, X, Member of DH.SY. conservative party youth sector, 2010, p. 37). Legal: Economic: Mixed: By allowing same-sex marriages, recognition is achieved for yet another human right, that has to do with the right to freedom of personal choice (Marilena Kai, newspaper reader, in Charalambous, 2010, p. 39). In practice, the introduction of regulation for the legal recognition of cohabitation between individuals of the same and opposite sex would be a pragmatic response to a real social need (Iliana Nicolaou, Ombudswoman, in Evripidou, 2010a). Because we should not forget that the institution of marriage, apart from the recognition of feelings and bonding between two people, is also a legal safeguard of all the benefits it brings (financial, inheritance, etc.), and its denial to gay couples is extremely unfair. (Yiannis Hunter, newspaper reader, in Charalambous, 2010, p. 39). If Cyprus legalises same sex marriage for non-residents, this could open up a flood gate of couples, with hundreds coming every year. (Gino Meriano, owner of Pinkweddings.biz, in Dewhurst, 2010b). I believe that Cypriot society is unprepared to accept that. (Michalis Michael, in Charalambous, 2010, p. 39). Opposing: Ethical/ against nature : it would implicitly question the nature of people and lead to confusion in their choices. (Andreas Themistocleous, DH.SY. conservative party MP, 2010, p. 14). I completely disagree with gay marriage. Homosexuality is not included in the laws of nature and negates our ethics and principles. (Stalo Panagidou Pilava, newspaper reader, in Charalambous, 2008, p. 19). Miscellaneous consequences:
54 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 45 Economic: If we start legalizing homosexuality, and installing it in the minds of our young people, by voting laws and publicizing the marriages and celebrations of homosexuals, then disaster is inevitable. (Christakis Christodoulou, newspaper reader, in Charalambous, 2008, p. 19). A society obliged to mine its very own constituent base, and allow the errors or exceptions of nature, or people's vices, to drag its course, is doomed sooner or later, to become Orwellian. (Andreas Themistocleous, DH.SY. conservative party MP, 2010, p. 14). I personally am not in favour of this event because of the implications it will have. In the future, gays will ask to adopt and children. Where will the institution of family go, and its standards, a father, a mother? This will eventually create a huge social problem, which as usual, the children will be called to pay for. (Antigone Soteriadou, newspaper reader, in Charalambous, 2008, p. 19). Same-sex relationships mostly serve the pleasure of people who participate in them, and contribute little or no to investing in human resources in society. Certainly, equating the two forms of relationships may lead to subsidizing homosexual relationships at the expense of heterosexual ones, because of the limited resources available. The dilemma that emerges in this case, is whether the state wants us to give incentives to investment, or simply to encourage consumption at the expense of investment. My position is that we need to encourage investment. (Panayiotis Theodosiou, Professor of Finance, Cyprus University of Technology, 2010, p. 12). At least one case was noted where the person s opinion appeared to shift throughout the three-year period. Specifically, Member of Parliament and later MEP, Dr. Eleni Theocharous, of the conservative DH.SY., was quoted, during an analysis of opinions expressed prior to the 2006 national parliamentary elections, as being against same-sex marriage (Savva, 2010, p. 41). An article in 2009 (Theodoulou, 2009,), presented Dr. Theocharous commenting on a Sexual Health and Rights Charter published by young Europeans. Theocharous overall supported the positions in the Charter, but pointed out one or two points we [DH.SY] do not completely agree with, one of them being gay couples adopting children, arguing that Cypriot society is not yet ready. Because Theocharous expressed her overall support for the Charter, which calls for same-sex marriage, but raised concerns specifically for the issue of adoption, her opinion as presented in this article was rated as mixed. Subsequently, in 2010, in a letter to newspaper Politis, Dr. Theocharous wished to clarify her position (Theocharous, 2010, p.12). In this article, Dr. Theocharous presented the issue of same-sex marriage as a complex one, asking whether one can answer
55 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 46 with a simple yes or no to such a question. The MEP, apparently referring to the article by Savva (2010, p. 41), went on to criticize any division of those who express public political opinion into for and against same-sex marriage based on any positions possibly expressed five years ago. She argued that such an effort is not objective, and does not serve toward the resolution of the problem. Besides, three to five years is enough time for someone to change their mind. Most importantly, however, the MEP concluded her article as follows: It is the birthright of every citizen to regulate his relationship before the state and society, but especially before his or her partner. And to freely transfer any transfers assets, pension and civil rights to any person he or she wishes, legally and freely. Of course, we are talking about political civil partnership, and mutual commitment. For a religious marriage, the power to decide lies with the Church and, the religion in which everyone belongs to and believes in. We therefore need to consolidate the legal rights of gay people and to protect them from any discrimination. Furthermore, we must strive continuously to ensure all human rights of all Cypriot citizens, and not undermine them by our yielding and our inadequacies, because this constitutes a dangerous undermining of a settlement for the Cyprus problem. (Theocharous, 2010, p. 12). In sum, overall, pro- same-sex marriage arguments rested primarily on legal and human-rights grounds, with occasional references to economic benefits. Opinions classified as mixed mostly relied on the social acceptance argument, refraining, in other words from a clearly supportive or oppositional stand, by transferring the responsibility to the conservative Cypriot society, which is not, it is argued, yet ready to accept such a development. Positions against same-sex marriage relied, for the most part, on the position that is against nature or against ethics and would bring about consequences (though no specific examples of such consequences were presented, although occasional rather vague warnings were given about ramifications for family standards and children ). One isolated example (Theodosiou, 2010, p. 12), presented an investment -based, economic argument, against same-sex marriage. Phileleftheros newspaper, in the context of its column Write your Opinion, invited its readers to express their positions on same-sex marriage twice during the 3- year period studied (in August 2008, and in January 2010; Charalambous, 2008, p.19; 2010, p. 39). This presented an interesting opportunity to compare the evolution of
56 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 47 public opinion and discourse on the matter throughout this period. Although the article s editor, in both cases, described reader s presented opinions as divided, careful examination of the reader s opinions published, reveals a shift between the two years in the opinions expressed, in favour of same-sex marriage. The percentage of opinions expressed against same-sex marriage in 2010 was notably lower compared to 2008 (of 17 reader s opinions presented, two readers expressed opinions clearly against, and one opinion was mixed in 2010, compared to six of 18 opinions that were clearly against same-sex marriage in 2008; remaining responses, in both cases, were clearly pro- same-sex marriage). A greater compilation of arguments in favour of same-sex marriage, based on human rights, need to eliminate discrimination, and recognition of the legal and practical need for regulating same-sex relationships, appeared throughout the reader s positions presented in 2010 compared to Discussion This study presents valuable results regarding the sociopolitical climate pertaining to LGBT issues in Cyprus. It comprises the first systematic attempt to collect and analyze the extent and quality of portrayal of LGBT issues in national newspapers. Since newspapers are among those institutions that influence social perceptions and shape social reality (McCombs & Shaw, 1972), the main issues presented as associated with LGBT issues through newspapers, and representations and discourse associated with the presented issues, are potentially critical in reflecting ongoing public discourse, while simultaneously shaping the socio-political climate around LGBT issues (e.g. Aarons, 2003; Padva, 2007; Moscowitz, 2010). International studies of the relation between media representations and the wider socio-political climate document instances of the media shaping or perpetuating stereotypes, of a specific gender or ethnic group, for instance, by over projecting instances of stereotypical behaviours, that does not necessarily correspond to
57 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 48 behaviour as it occurs in everyday reality (e.g. van Dijk, 1989; Ungerleider, 1991; Talbot, 2003). Newspapers are able to actively shape and direct discourse, as they have the capacity to be selective and partial with regards to what issues are being presented and discussed, and which ones are not. Although often presenting the illusion as being such, newspaper texts are neither accurate, nor faithful representations of reality, but rather act through the filters and biases of society s own preconceptions, perceived reader s needs, and the author s or the newspapers underlying philosophy. The most pronounced pattern observed in the frequency of articles published in the three year period of study, for all newspapers studied, was the great increase in articles published in 2010 compared to the previous two years, particularly for the Greek language newspapers. This was probably due to the attention captured by one or two provocative public statements, especially a statement made by MP Mr. Andreas Themistocleous of the conservative Democratic Rally party (DH.SY), during a radio program on March 2010, and later published in Phileleftheros (Hadjistylianou, 2010, p. 40) in response to a report issued by the Ombudswoman following complaints by LGBT individuals about human rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation (Nicolaou, 2010), and particularly denial of asylum and residency to their same-sex partners or spouses. Mr. Themistocleous statement, in verbatim just because there exist among us paedophiles, people who practice bestiality, necrophiliacs and other criminals, should the state legitimise their status too? 7, stimulated heavy criticism and condemnation from the Media as well from other public figures, and apparently acted as a trigger for further debate on LGBT issues. Commentators from the newspaper Politis appeared especially critical of the statement, while the newspaper published several reactions from public figures, experts (e.g. academics), and citizens criticizing the statements as unfounded and homophobic (e.g. Constantinou, X., 2010, p. 35; 7 Original statement, verbatim, in Greek: «Με το ίδιο σκεπτικό επειδή συναντάµε στην κοινωνία µας και παιδόφιλους, κτηνοβάτες, νεκρόφιλους και εγκληµατίες, θα πρέπει το κράτος να προσδώσει στις πράξεις τους έννοµες συνέπειες;»,
58 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 49 Mackay, 2010), but also furthering arguments for and against gay rights (e.g. Theodosiou, 2010, p. 12). References were also made to the intervention of the European Parliament s LGBT intergroup, asking Mr. Themistocleous to withdraw his statements and apologize, as well as the correspondence between the two parties that followed (e.g. Constantinou, C., 2010, p.4). A subsequent event that added to the controversy and contributed to the increased coverage, though less pronounced in its impact than Mr. Andreas Themistocleous statements, was the refusal by the public radio and television network (Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, or CyBC), to air antidiscrimination spots around the issue of sexual orientation (specifically a radio spot featuring a woman talking about her relationship with another woman). CyBC Director General, -incidentally- called Mr. Themis Themistocleous, backed up his refusal by claiming that the advertisements were too advanced for Cypriot society. The spots were part of a wider antidiscrimination campaign sponsored by the Equality Authority at the office of the Commissioner of Administration, and covered a range of antidiscrimination themes (e.g. discrimination based on age, ethnicity, disability etc.), the rest of which were deemed as acceptable by the CyBC authorities. Commentaries and references in the press mostly criticized the public network s stance (e.g. Hadjidimitriou, 2010b, p.2) although opinions supporting it were also expressed. For instance, a reader s letter to the newspaper Phileleftheros protested about the inappropriateness of the lesbian-themed antidiscrimination commercial aired by private channels and praised the CyBC s stance of refusal to air the offensive spot (Nicolaou Christou, 2010, p.8). Moreover, the founding, first activities, and thus increasing visibility of accept-lgbt Cyprus, the first formal LGBT-rights groups in Cyprus 8, coincided with the developments 8 The first organised entity/group dealing with LGBT rights in Cyprus was the Cyprus Gay Liberation Movement (AKOK), founded by Mr. Alecos Modinos and other anonymous activists is 1987 (for historical background, see Introduction). The group was never officially registered as a Non-Governmental Organization, and with few exceptions, its members remained anonymous throughout its history. Therefore,
59 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 50 described above, further contributing to the increased media coverage of LGBT rights. A press conference held on May 17 th 2010 (International Day Against Homophobia) announced the founding of the group, its visions and goals, and received adequate coverage in the press (e.g. Hadjiapostolou, 2010, p. 37; Evripidou, 2010c; Panagi, 2010). Even though the increase in references between 2009 and 2010 was far greater, a notable increase was also observed for references to LGBT-related issues between 2008 and 2009, specifically for the Greek language newspapers (not for Cyprus Mail). Developments that contributed to this increased coverage included the discourse generated by official complaints submitted by LGBT persons to the Ombudswoman, concerning mostly refusal of the authorities to grant legal status (asylum or permanent residence) to their same-sex partners or spouses, triggering public discourse about the possibility of legal regulation of same-sex relationships in the Republic of Cyprus. Although the total number of articles containing LGBT references published appeared to differ between newspapers (see Figure 1.1), with Politis publishing the greatest overall number and Cyprus Mail the lowest, this numerical index should not necessarily be interpreted as analogous to the newspaper s concern or supportiveness of LGBT issues. Qualitative characteristics of the articles, such as how extensive and relevant to the audience the article s reference to LGBT issues is, the nature of the topic presented or discussed, and the positive or negative valence of the attitudes expressed or presented, also need to be taken into account. For instance, Tables 1.4 and 1.5 show that different newspapers presented different patterns regarding the sections where LGBT issues were most prominent, and the article types where LGBT-references usually appeared. Phileleftheros presented numerous references to LGBT issues, but a large percentage was featured in the International news sections, presented merely as statements of facts with little or no commentary. Although the accept-lgbt Cyprus can be considered the first official NGO promoting LGBT rights in Cyprus; an application for obtaining NGO status was submitted on 26 th October, 2010, and is currently being reviewed by the competent authority.
60 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 51 paper did cover local developments in 2010, the newspaper s reporters remained conservative throughout, with very little, opinion presented or expressed by the reporters themselves (e.g. Hadjistylianou, 2010, p. 4); external opinions were hosted by pro- and anti- LGBT figures, (e.g. Constantinou, X., 2010, p. 37; p.35; Themistocleous, p. 14). Politis, on the other hand, especially throughout 2010, tended to be more critical, hosting more opinions and commentaries in its columns, by some readers (e.g. Stavrinides, 2010), but especially by its own reporters and commentators, who exercised strong criticism of homophobic statements and behaviours by public figures (e.g. Constantinou, C., 2010a, p.13; Constantinou, C. 2010, p. 4), but also commended pro-lgbt statements made by public figures (e.g. Constantinou, C., 2010b, p. 13). This was especially true in several gay-friendly critical columns such as the column Kata Varvaron by journalist Costas Constantinou, and Ypogastrion ( Underbelly ), authored by a gay persona using the pseudonym O Toioutos. Although fewer in number (at least as retrieved through the newspaper s online search system, since no pdf versions were available electronically), Cyprus Mail s articles tended to present more directly relevant to the local scene than articles retrieved in the Greek-speaking newspapers (see Fig. 7) and tended to host opinions, from both the pro- and anti- LGBT sides (e.g. Dewhurst, 2010b; Dinou, 2010). Regarding attitudes expressed, the tendency was for articles with exclusively European/international focus to be predominantly factual in all newspapers, with neutral or no opinion, and articles containing a local/national tended to express or cite opinions, with positive attitudes (to varying degrees) being predominant. The notable increase in negative attitudes expressed through articles with local/national focus in 2010 compared to the previous years could be partly attributed to the increased coverage given to statements that could be considered provocative or homophobic, and that captured the public and media attention. It is also likely that since such statements, along with the concurrent developments
61 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 52 described above, acted as a trigger for stimulating public discourse around LGBT rights and particularly the prospect of legalizing same-sex partnerships, thus setting the ground for opinions of both pro- and anti-lgbt sides to be presented, and particularly a fertile ground for dormant homophobic or anti-lgbt attitudes to be explicitly expressed. These findings appear encouraging, since it seems that as LGBT issues come closer to home, discourse is increased, and although this may trigger debates and arguments from all sides, positive attitudes appear to be more frequent compared to negative ones. The current analysis would not be complete without commenting on what was notably missing, as well as what was indeed covered or commented upon in the Cypriot press throughout the three-year period studied. Despite a trend for increasing coverage of LGBTrelevant topics, overall coverage of LGBT issues was limited, and lagged far behind major issues that take up for the bulk of the newspapers space and make headlines (in Cyprus, these are, typically, the Cyprus problem, and the economy). Of two exceptions of LGBTrelevant reference in the front page, one was related to one of these two major issues, the economy, and specifically the tourist industry in response to the financial crash (Hadjistilianou, 2009, p. 1). Some striking gaps should be noted regarding coverage of some LGBT-related developments or events that could have been construed, and thus covered, as locally relevant. Most notably, despite some references to international pride events and awareness-raising activities were included in international news sections (e.g. Yes, gays can!, 2009, p. 9), the most locally-relevant pride event, the annual Athens pride, received no mention whatsoever in either of the newspapers, in either of the three years. Even though the newly formed organization accept-lgbt Cyprus participated with its own delegation in the 2010 Athens Pride, this still received no mention. This gap may reflect the lack of discourse on LGBT activism and the overall lack of visibility of the LGBT community (locally, or internationally) as an active stakeholder in civil society in a Cypriot context, and is, to some
62 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 53 extent consistent with the lack of any visible organised LGBT movements in the island, at least until Although the concepts of human rights and adverse discrimination may appear to become increasingly acknowledged and addressed in the Cypriot press, it appears that more work may be needed, by LGBT advocates themselves, but also by journalists who wish to contribute toward the coverage of LGBT issues, to portray the LGBT community as socially active. Current LGBT representations in the Cypriot press, in both local and international mentions, appear overwhelmingly pessimistic; it would even be accurate to claim that LGBT people are portrayed by the Cypriot press as passive victims of discrimination, subject to the mercy a ruthlessly homophobic society (e.g. Sarantopoulou, 2009, p. 41; Panagi, 2009, p. 29; Kasinidou, 2010, p. 31), whose rights rely on competent authorities such as law makers, migration authorities, or the attorney general in order to be secured (e.g. Costakopoulos, G., 2008, p. 48; Hadjistylianou, 2010, p.32.). The launching of accept-lgbt Cyprus in May 2010 may have marked a first step toward an alternative representation of the LGBT community in Cyprus, one that presents LGBT community s representatives that are empowered, committed, able to take initiative, and ready to function as active agents for social change (e.g. Panagi, 2010, p. 21, Reportage ; Evripidou, 2010c). Whether this image will be further consolidated through press coverage in the future and balance the pessimistic and victimized portrayal predominant so far, remains to be seen. Another major gap identified through the compilation of articles gathered and analyzed for this three-year period, lies in the striking absence of political opinions or positions. Apart from some positions quoted by a newspaper survey back in 2006 (Savva, 2010, p. 41; noted with an asterisk), Table 1.5 lists few public figures as expressing a clear stance, on the topic of same-sex unions in this case. Despite the substantial increase in discourse, particularly on same-sex unions, throughout the three years, it seems that few actors monopolized this discourse. On the pro-lgbt side, statements were almost
63 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 54 exclusively attributed to the Ombudswoman, Iliana Nicolaou, and the Equality Authority of Cyprus. On the anti- LGBT side, the discourse was largely monopolized by conservative MP Andreas Themistocleous. Other key political figures appeared remarkably silent on the issue. Besides the Ombudswoman and Equality Authority, and on some occasions, the Ministry of Interiors, local and national authorities also refrained from any debate. The few occasional exceptions tended to come from the conservative political party DH.SY. (Constantinou, X., 2010, p. 37; 2010, p. 35; Theocharous, 2010, p. 12). DH.SY. was also the only political party to issue an official position on LGBT issues, and specifically same-sex unions, positioning itself against same-sex marriage, but willing to discuss civil partnership proposals. The statement, specifically, expressed the following: On the issue of relationships among homosexual couples, the Democratic Rally is opposed to the expansion of the institution of marriage, so as to cover such cases, as well as the institution of adoption of children by homosexual couples. The Democratic Rally, respects the sovereign right of each Member State of the Union to institutionalize relations of homosexual couples on the legal basis of civil unions (Germany, England, France, etc.), and will consider legislative by the Cyprus Government, in accordance with international and European obligations of the Republic, to settle the issue. ( issued on 2010, June 4). The position was posted on the party s website, following several weeks of debate and criticism of Mr. Themistocleous statements, and was hence referenced in press articles. Consequently some columns featured critical commentaries calling the party s reactions as belated, forced, and hypocritical (DH.SY. distances its position, 2010, p. 5; You either sue him, or you shave him, 2010, p. 13; Constantinou, C., 2010a, p.13). Moreover, although traditionally, the political left is considered an ally of social equality including LGBT rights in many countries, this does not seem to be the case in Cyprus. Despite the heated, at times, debate, generated by Mr. Themistocleous statements, the left-wing political parties and their representatives remained persistently silent 9. Whereas the conservative DH.SY. may have 9 One exception was a reaction by the socialist-affiliated student branch Agonas in the United Kingdrom., who published a response on their website, whereby they condemned Mr. Themistocleous statements as homophobic, and took a pro- same-sex unions position, calling for the imperative need to safeguard homosexual couples (in dated 2010, April 23). No such response was, however, officially made by the Cypriot socialist party itself (EDEK), nor
64 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 55 experienced pressure following the dimensions of the debate and the public outcry that followed Themistocleous statements, and thus its individual members and the official party s collective went on to take stance, no such pressure or sense of urgency was apparently perceived by the left-wing parties. In sum, examination of the actual actors involved on a local and national level reveals that discourse occurs around limited circles. Articles repeatedly reference the Ombudswoman s call for equality for partnerships throughout the three years, and, in 2010, deal quite extensively with Themistocleous statements. Despite increase in discourse and coverage in 2010, and increased participation of the general public and media commentators in the generated debates, political debate appears to remain lacking, and the involvement of the LGBT community and their representatives as active agents in this debate is limited to nonexistent. Contributions of the Study We believe this study has produced significant contributions to the nascent field of LGBT studies in Cyprus and can function as an important resource for advocacy on LGBT rights through evidence-based documentation. The study s strengths lie in the island-wide span and daily circulation of the newspapers included, and the comprehensiveness of the articles collected 10, ensuring coverage of discourse from various actors and span pertaining to LGBT rights, ranging from average persons and readers to key political figures and decision makers, and from local, national, European to International span respectively (see Selection of Sources in Methods section, for the rationale for this selection). by any of their core members. 10 The search conducted for the articles for the three-year span of this study could be considered comprehensive, provided that all daily publications were thoroughly searched either through pdf search functions or scanned visually for keywords. Although some references may have been omitted due to human error, due to the systematic and thorough nature of the searchers, omissions are likely to be scarce and not likely to have affected the overall results of this study.
65 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 56 The setup and development of a comprehensive archive system for organizing and gathering press articles containing references to LGBT issues in Cyprus can function as an important resource for future reference, additional analyses, and, of course, provides the structural mechanism for continued monitoring of the relevant public discourse through collection of further such references in the press in the years following the time span of the study. The data collected and the resulting analysis generated observations and recommendations that can inform several stakeholders, primarily NGOs involved in advocating for LGBT rights, but also the media with regards to the need for covering topics that have so far appeared underrepresented in the press and contributing to raising awareness and generating discourse on these topics. Decision makers, authorities, as well as educators can also draw on this study to identify concerns or even prejudice expressed through laypersons, politicians, or other key figures and stakeholders, as documented by the press, and use these information accordingly to guide and tailor general awareness and educational campaigns or specific prevention programs. The period of the present documentation fortunately coincided an era marked by a rising motivation by members of the LGBT community and their allies to engage in active steps to promote LGBT rights as fundamental human rights, and secure visibility and fortification of rights as a community, and consequently the founding of accept-lgbt Cyprus. Thus, it can be considered to document the contemporary sociopolitical climate during a time of significant developments in LGBT advocacy in Cyprus, and can serve as a baseline for evaluating changes in the years to come by contrasting similar documentations of the relevant coverage and public discourse in the future. Limitations Although every effort was made to ensure that the study s results are nationally representative, by selecting the most widely circulated newspapers in the island, some points
66 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 57 of caution regarding interpretation of our results should be made. Although newspapers are an important medium for both reflecting and shaping popular opinion, other forms of media, such as television, radio, and new online media (facebook groups, websites, internet blogs and forums) are also important aspects of the socio-political climate, which may present different portrayals and issues pertaining to LGBT issues, but could not be included in this study due to practical limitations. The present study was conducted primarily by a team of volunteer researchers, supervised by two experienced researchers and coordinated by a part-time research assistant. Therefore, practical challenges, such as financial and time constraints, limited to some extent, the scope of the study, thus not allowing the coding and analysis to extend to a wider range of newspapers and to other media (e.g. television or internet blogs and forums). Technical challenges with newspaper websites, which had various formats of article archiving and differing levels of facilitation of article retrieval may have hindered an exhaustive retrieval of all possibly relevant articles, although efforts were made by the research team to ensure that collection of relevant articles was as comprehensive as possible. Overview Overall, the main trends recorded through the present documentation analysis included a consistent increase in discourse throughout the three year period in all main newspapers, with the most pronounced increase noted in 2010 compared to the year before, as well as a trend toward increasing coverage of LGBT issues on a local/national level across the three years, thus bringing the issue closer to home. As evidenced by the increasing prevalence of articles presenting or expressing attitudes, either positive or negative, in 2010, with articles with local/national focus being more likely to contain more attitudes, either negative or positive, compared to articles with a solely European/international focus, when LGBT issues are treated as closer to home, critical discourse is more likely to be triggered
67 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 58 and thus presented in the media. These trends appear encouraging regarding the potential of raising awareness of LGBT issues among the general public, and bringing discussions about LGBT rights into the spotlight; this is especially important, since such discourse in Cyprus has been scarce, and as the limited empirical evidence available (e.g. Kapsou, 2006; Lesta, Lazarus, & Essen, 2008; European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2009) documents that sexual orientation remains a taboo issue and homophobia and myths are prevalent among Cypriots. Nevertheless, several points of caution should be noted to qualify this optimism. For one, despite the increases in coverage and the increased presence of articles in sections of newspapers hosting opinions and social issues, overall newspaper space devoted to LGBT issues is minute compared to other topics that take-up the majority of the attention of the press. Most articles throughout the three year span studied are found in middle pages of newspapers, with a significant percentage located in International News and small commentary sections. Apart from two exceptions, one referring to the authorities rejection of a same-sex marriage request (Hadjistylianou, 2010, p. 1) one article linking LGBT issues with the economy (Hadjistylianou, 2009, p. 1), and one or two occasional teasers, LGBT issues did not appear on front pages of newspapers and did not make headlines. Most importantly, whether the documented increases in coverage and its local/national relevance indeed signify an important milestone for LGBT visibility and the onset of relevant public discourse and social concern in Cyprus that will continue in the future, or merely a shortlived fad, triggered by occasional provocative or inflammatory statements that will subside, is a question that remains to be answered.
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71 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 62 References to newspaper articles cited in the text Yes, gays can! (2009, November 5). Politis, p.9. A. Marios (2010, April 25). Cypriot MP s homophobic statements were shameful. letter by reader; Cyprus Mail. Agathocleous, J. (2010, June 16). Political parties should take stance on gay marriage. Cyprus Mail. Andreou, A. (2009, May 15). 33 year old Turk resorts to the European Court of Human Rights: Referee, or homosexual? Politis p. 10. Bold mayor achieves welfare for his city. Weddings for all tastes (2008, July 18). Politis, p. 9. Cashman, M. (2008). In response to Marios Matsakis. Letter to Cyprus Mail. Ch. I. (2010, July 10). Letter by a homosexual. Politis, p. 14. Charalambous, C. (2010, February 28). Government to look at legalizing gay marriage. Cyprus Mail. Charalambous, P. (2008, August 10). Write your opinion. Phileleftheros, p. 19. Charalambous, P. (2010, January 31). Write your opinion. Phileleftheros, p. 39 Charalambous. C. (2010, April 17). On homosexuality. Reader s letter, Phileleftheros, p. 8. Christodoulides, Z. (2009, November 21). Embracing diversity. Cyprus Mail. Christou, J. (2008a, December 21). Gay rights campaigners hope to bring offensive exhibition to Cyprus. Cyprus Mail. Christou, J. (2008b, May 13). Cyprus will have to recognise gay marriage rights. Cyprus Mail. Church: No comment. (2008, May 13). Politis p. 48. Constantinou, C. (2010, June 4). DH.SY. and Cyprus exposed because of Themistocleous. Ridicule in Europe. Politis, p.4.
72 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 63 Constantinou, C. (2010a, April 30). Hypocrites, sly, and provocative. Politis, p. 13. Constantinou, C. (2010b, July 29). More like them, Mr. Anastasiades. Politis, p. 13. Constantinou, C. (2010c, June 5). Homophobic, not. conveniently hermaphrodite. Politis, p.13. Constantinou, C. (2010d, May 7). How will he fix us Mr. Anastasiades? Politis, p. 13. Constantinou, X, (2010, July 18). The World is Changing, are we?. Phileleftheros p. 37. Constantinou, X. (2010, April 10). When prejudice meets fear. Phileleftheros p. 35. Costakopoulos, G. (2008, October 31). We are throwing gay asylum seeker to the wolves : Asylum for our hypocrisy. Politis p. 48. Cypriots admit to widespread discrimination (2008, July 8). Cyprus Mail. Cyprus fingered again over negative attitude to gays (2009, April 2). Cyprus Mail. Dalitis, F. (2009, November 11). Youth in Cyprus more tolerant: they do not yield to racism and are more accepting of difference. Phileleftheros, p. 32. Demetriou, M. (2008, December 21). For once, I have to side with the good doctor. Reader s letter in Cyprus Mail. Dewhurst, P. (2010a, June 15). CyBC refused to show anti discrimination advert. Cyprus Mail. Dewhurst, P. (2010b, May 6). Sane-sex marriages could boost the island s economy. Cyprus Mail. Dinou, A. (2010, December 12). Adoption by gay couples doesn t take into account a child s preferences. Reader s letter, Cyprus Mail. DISY distances itself from deputy s anti-gay remarks. (2010, April 30); Cyprus Mail. Evripidou, S. (2008a, July 3). Renewed Social Agenda: Commission adopts proposal for right in cross-border healthcare. Cyprus Mail.
73 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 64 Evripidou, S. (2008b, December 17). MEP Matsakis intimidated by Europe s homosexual lobby. Cyprus Mail. Evripidou, S. (2008c, December 18). Matsakis row reaches Strasbourg plenary. Cyprus Mail. Evripidou, S. (2008d, December 19). Ombudswoman raps Migration over treatment of gay partner. Cyprus Mail. Evripidou, S. (2010a, April 10), Gay partners need rights. Cyprus Mail Evripidou, S. (2010b, July 18). War of words over gays. Cyprus Mail. Evripidou, S. (2010c, May 18). We have to break the wall of homophobia. Cyprus Mail. Gay priest married his partner with religious wedding: On the church steps! (2008, June 11). Politis, p. 9. Hadjiapostolou, P. (2010 May 18). The first activist group on LGBT rights founded in Cyprus. Accept homosexuals. Politis, p. 37. Hadjidimitriou, C. (2010a, April 5). In the fire, in the fire. Phileleftheros, p.2. Hadjidimitriou, C. (2010b, June 15). Who are you to discriminate? Phileleftheros, p.2. Hadjistylianou, M. (2009, March 19). Turn of hotel owners to homosexuals: They started advertising hotels friendly to gay couples. Phileleftheros, p.1. Hadjistylianou, M. (2010 February, 2). Cypriot homosexual asks to get married: he accuses the Parliament of rights violation. Phileleftheros p. 40. Hadjistylianou, M. (2010, April 13). She paved the way to homosexual marriages: The Ombudswoman considers it is not a threat to traditional form of family. Phileleftheros p. 32. Hadjistylianou, M. (2010, April 18). Homosexual marriages in Cyprus a matter of time. Movement President Al. Modinos stresses that several couples are awaiting legal reform. Phileleftheros p. 27.
74 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 65 Hadjistylianou, M. (2010, April 30). Homosexuals or not, they burst at DH.SY. Phileleftheros, p. 40. Hadjistylianou, M. (2010, March 4). No by Christophias for homosexual marriage: he moved heaven and earth to marry his partner. Phileleftheros, p.1. Hadjistylianou, M. (2010, May 14). For marriage to Silikiotis. Negative reply by Attorney General to Cypriot Homosexual. Phileleftheros, p. 40. Hassapi, A. (2009, July 24). Ombudswoman examining discrimination claims by gay warden. Cyprus Mail. Hazou, E. (2010, April 27). Some people are gay, get over it. Cyprus Mail. He insists, misdirects, and vilifies you. (2010 July 16). Politis. 13. He is somewhere. And does not bite! (2010, May 18). Politis. 13. He scolded Themistocleous, but was careful not to open up fronts with the Church. DH.SY. distances its position (2010, April 30). Politis, p. 5. Homosexuals in Greece call for Marriage: in the final steps for conducting the first ones. (2008, March 24). Phileleftheros, p.13. Hoplarou, R. (2010a, June 27). Were there gays in 1700 B.C.? Politis. 25. Hoplarou, R. (2010b, May 30). The miracle pill of the 60s. Politis. 25. Jacques, S. (2009, August 23). Ombudswoman s calls are a welcome voice in Cyprus Kalatzis, M. (2008, May 13). Ombudswoman s report lit fires: It s a hot topic. Politis. p. 48. Kalatzis, M. (2009, July 23). Prison guard reports racism behaviour against him: I am gay, not disabled. Politis p. 21. Kalatzis, M. (2010, June 23). Accelerated deportation of a European citizen: Racism at present tense. Politis. 38. Kalatzis, M. (2010, June 26). Nobody assumes responsibility for the unacceptable treatment by authorities: They messed up with a British. Society Politis. 62.
75 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 66 Kasinidou, K. (2009, December 1). Not passing AIDS prevention: We hold the sceptres of discrimination against homosexuals. Phileleftheros, p. 31. Kasinidou, K. (2009, November 2). Research on the sexual behaviour of homosexuals, Phileleftheros, p. 40. Leonidou, L. (2008, May 18). Gays in north take to streets to raise awareness. Cyprus Mail. Evripidou, S. (2008, July 3). Renewed Social Agenda: Commission adopts proposal for right in cross-border healthcare. Cyprus Mail. Lysandrou, M. (2010, May 23). Despina talks to P about the journey to the disco verity of her sexuality: How I was reborn. Politis p. 22. Mackay, J. (2010, May 9). Themistocleous offended everyone. Reader s letter, Cyprus Mail. Nicolaou Christou, M. (2010, June 23). I protest. Reader s letter, Phileleftheros, p. 8. Ntziani, C. (2008, December 17). He takes pictures of MEPs who support adoption by gay couples. Homosexual posters against Matsakis. Politis p. 41. O Toioutos (2010a, May 9). Stories under the belly. Politis, p. 3. O Toioutos. (2010b, June 20). Underbelly. Politis, p. 3. O Toioutos. (2010c, May 18). Underbelly. Politis p.3. O Hara, L. (2010, March 9). Why we should embrace same-sex marriages. Cyprus Mail. Panagi, M (2009, December 6). I am stigmatized because I have.aids: Cry of Despair by a 30 year old architect who is HIV positive and experiences rejection. Phileleftheros, p. 29. Panagi, M. (2010 May 18). Association by Cypriot homosexuals: They organised aiming to struggle against their fellow-citizens homophobia. Phileleftheros, p. 21. Papaleontiou, G. (2010, May 28). Homosexual marriages. Politis. 14. Playing the fool today as well, Mr. Anastasiades?, (2010, April 15). Politis, p. 13
76 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 67 Psara, M. (2008, April 7). Civil Marriage for Homosexuals: A fact as of today in Greece as well? Phileleftheros, p. 13 Racism against gays: Mayday from the EU. (2009, April 1). Politis p. 10. Sarantopoulou, T. (2009, November 10). We generally fear making relationships and acquaintances: Allophobic Cypriots. Politis p. 41. Savva, K. (2010, May 10). How MPs responded to marriages of same-sex couples. The Parliament before homosexuals. Politis. 41. Savvides, V. (2010 July 28). Homosexuality, social homophobia, and Religion. Politis. 42. Sinigoros (2010a, June 27). After Polis CyBC has also fallen. Politis. 9. Sinigoros. (2010b, June, 20). Party biologically cleansed of gay and genetically engineered products. Politis. 9. Stavrinides, P. (2010, May 16). On the statements of Deputy Andreas Themistocleous. Politis. 67. Themistocleous, A. (2010, May 3). On homosexuals and other things. Phileleftheros p. 6. Themistocleous, A. (2010, May 6). On homosexuals and other things. Politis. 14. Theocharous, E. (2010, July 10). On homosexual citizens partnership. Politis. 12. Theodosiou, P. (2010, June 13). The economic dimension of homosexual relations. Politis. 12. Theodoulou, J. (2009, May 30). Charter for sexual well-being. Cyprus Mail. Time to decide whether you support human rights for all (2009, August 18) Cyprus Mail. What might God tell us? About gays. (2008, July 18). Politis p.10. You either sue him, or you shave him... (2010, June 9). Politis, p. 13.
77 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 68 Study 1 Tables Table 1.1. List of English and Greek keywords used in search to identify articles relevant to LGBT issues. Greek Οµοφοβία οµοφυλοφιλία λεσβία/ες Σεξουαλικός προσανατολισµός γενετήσιος οµοφυλόφιλα ζευγάρια ΛΟΑ /ΛΟΑΤ ACCEPT οµοφυλόφιλος/α δικαιώµατα οµοφυλοφίλων σύµφωνο συµβίωσης πολιτικοί γάµοι διακρίσεις λόγω φύλου/ σεξ προσανατολισµός διαφορετικότητα γκέι/γκέυ/gay Σεξουαλικότητα σεξουαλικές προτιµήσεις Θεµιστοκλέους Ηλιάνα Νικολάου Επίτροπος ιοικήσεως Αλέκος Μοδινός παρά φύση σοδοµία AIDS πρωκτικός έρωτας English Homophobia homosexuality lesbian/s sexual orientation genital homosexual couples LGBT ACCEPT homosexual/s LGBT rights civil partnership civil marriage discrimination due to gender/sex orientation diversity gay sexuality sexual preferences Themistocleous Iliana Nikolaou Commissioner of Administration Alecos Modinos unnatural sodomy AIDS anal sex Note. Word stems (e.g. «οµοφυ-»/«σεξ-»/«homos-» etc.) were also used during the search, to ensure that all instances of the words were recorded, in all forms and conjugations presented.
78 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 69 Table 1.2. Predominant attitude toward LGBT rights expressed or presented in press articles with local/national, or European/International only focus throughout the period studied. Attitude expressed/presented Neutral or none Positive Negative (%) (%) (%) Local/national focus Total European/International only focus Total All articles Total
79 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 70 Table 1.3. Frequency (%) of different article sections by year, publication source (newspaper), and geographical focus. Article Type N International Columns/ Informative Other a News Commentary (%) (%) (%) (%) Year Newspaper Phileleftheros Politis Focus Local/national European/ International only Total Notes. Articles in Phileleftheros and Politis only; a other category included articles found under the following sections: Opinion/Editorial, Cover Page, Interviews, Reports/Research, Letters from Readers, Local/Domestic news, Politics, Health/Health Issues, Sports. No information for sections was available for Cyprus Mail.
80 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 71 Table 1.4. Frequency (%) of different article types by year, publication source (newspaper), and geographical focus. Article Type N Informative Commentary Opinion Research Interview (%) (%) (%) / Report (%) (%) Year Newspaper Phileleftheros Politis Cyprus Mail Focus Local/national European/ International only Total
81 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 72 Table 1.5. Stakeholder positions on same-sex unions, as presented in the press covering nationally/locally relevant issues ( ). Opposed Neutral/Mixed Opinion Supportive Name Function Name Function Name Function Andreas MP, Democratic Tasos Mitsopoulos* MP, Democratic Iliana Nicolaou Ombudswoman Themistocleous Rally Rally Dr. Panayiotis Academic George Perdikis* MP, Green party accept-lgbt Cyprus LGBT NGO Theodosiou Pope Benedict XVI Religious figure Athina Kyriakidou* MP, Democratic Party Marios Matsakis MEP ( ). Maria Kyriacou* MP, Democratic Rally Alecos Modinos Averof Neofytou* LGBT activist MP, Democratic Rally Antigone MEP, Democratic Nicos Tornaritis* MP, Democratic Roula Mavronikola* MP, Democratic Papadopoulou* Party Rally Rally Angelos Votsis* Candidate MP, Tasos Mitsopoulos* MP, Democratic Phytos Candidate MP, Democratic Party Rally Constantinou* Democratic Party (2006)
82 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 73 Christos MP, Democratic Stavros Evagorou* MP, AKEL Nikolaos MP, Democratic Pourgourides * Rally Papadopoulos* Party George Georgiou* Candidate MP, Dr. Eleni MEP, Democratic Takis Hadjigeorgiou MP, AKEL Democratic Rally Theocharous (2009) Rally Various Readers Democratic Rally (official declaration) against same-sex marriage, but would discuss civil unions Dr. Panayiotis Stavrinides Developmental Psychologist, Academic Holy Synod source Religious authority Marios Matsakis Former MEP, European Intergroup (Greek Orthodox (2009) Democratic Party on LGBT rights Cyprus) Stelios Ieronymides MP, Democratic Lakis Neophytou Director of Cyprus Nicolas Kyriacou Lawyer Party (doubts) Dream Weddings Dr. Eleni MP, Democratic Skarvelis Weddings Xenia Constantinou Politician, Candidate Theocharous* Rally (don t think would MP (2011),
83 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 74 welcome it) Democratic Rally Greek Orthodox Religious authority Various Readers Church (Greece) Petros Klerides Attorney General of YouAct European Youth the Republic of NGO Cyprus Lauren O Hara Cyprus Mail Journalist Anonymous 24-year LGBT Person old Ioannis Kasoulides MEP, Democratic Rally Dr. Eleni MEP, Democratic Theocharous Rally Yiannos Lamaris* Candidate MP, AKEL (2006)
84 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 75 Chrystalla Hadjidemetriou Journalist/ commentator Youth Board of Cyprus George Papaleontiou Educator Note. *Some of the opinions of MPs on same-sex marriage included here, are based on responses to a newspaper (Politis) survey In lieu of national parliamentary elections on 22 May 2011, the newspaper Politis publicised responses of several candidate MPs to the question Are you for or against legalization of same sex-marriage ( Although these are not analyzed in the context of the present study, they constitute more up-to-date data that can guide an accurate mapping of the contemporary political landscape.
85 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 76 Study 1- Figure Captions. Figure 1.1. Number of press articles containing references to LGBT issues, by newspaper and by year. Figure 1.2. Sample article from newspaper Phileleftheros. Homosexuals in Greece call for Marriage: in the final steps for conducting the first ones. (published on 2008, March 24, p.13. Figure 1.3. Sample article from newspaper Phileleftheros. Not passing AIDS prevention: We hold the sceptres of discrimination against homosexuals (published on 2009, December 1, p. 31). Figure 1.4. Sample article from newspaper Politis. On the statements of Deputy Andreas Themistocleous (published on 2010, May 16, p. 67). Figure 1.5. Sample article from newspaper Politis. How MPs responded to marriages of same-sex couples. The Parliament before homosexuals (published on 2010, May 10, p. 41). Figure 1.6. Sample article from Cyprus Mail. We have to break the wall of homophobia (published on 2010, May 18). Figure 1.7. Percentage of articles containing references to local/national relevance or with European/International focus only, for all years. Figure 1.8. General topic presented or discussed in the press, Figure 1.9. General topic presented or discussed, , Phileleftheros newspaper. Figure General topic presented or discussed, , Politis newspaper. Figure General topic presented or discussed, , Cyprus Mail.
86 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 77 Figure 1.1. Number of press articles containing references to LGBT issues, by newspaper and by year Phileleftheros Politis Cyprus Mail
87 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 78 Figure 1.2. Sample article from newspaper Phileleftheros. Homosexuals in Greece call for Marriage: in the final steps for conducting the first ones. (published on 2008, March 24, p.13.
88 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 79 Figure 1.3. Sample article from newspaper Phileleftheros. Not passing AIDS prevention: We hold the sceptres of discrimination against homosexuals (published on 2009, December 1, p. 31).
89 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 80 Figure 1.4. Sample article from newspaper Politis. On the statements of Deputy Andreas Themistocleous (published on 2010, May 16, p. 67).
90 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 81 Figure 1.5. Sample article from newspaper Politis. How MPs responded to marriages of same-sex couples. The Parliament before homosexuals (published on 2010, May 10, p. 41).
91 Running Head: Mapping the Sociopolitical Climate 82 Figure 1.6. Sample article from Cyprus Mail. We have to break the wall of homophobia (published on 2010, May 18).
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