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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 14 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 11
Openly Gay, HIV-positive man runs for mayor of Athens Warns that neo-Nazis might take office
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Openly Gay, HIV-positive man runs for mayor of Athens Warns that neo-Nazis might take office

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Gregory Vallianatos, a Gay activist and founding member of ACT UP Greece, is running for mayor of Athens in the election scheduled for May 18.

According to his campaign consultant, Vallianatos 'is attempting to make history as the first openly gay and first openly HIV-positive man to run for mayor of Athens.' Vallianatos also made history as the plaintiff in a lawsuit in which the European Court of Human Rights ordered Greece to afford Gay and Lesbian couples the right to form civil unions.

Vallianatos is a candidate for the Liberal Alliance, a small party that advocates an essentially libertarian platform.

In fact, on his personal Facebook page, Vallianatos recently posted, 'I defend the right of every male and female citizen to call themselves gay, lesbian, trans, queer, bi, straight or anything else they want to, and to say so! Same as the right for everyone who is HIV-positive, such as myself, to say or not to say so.'

Polling shows Vallianatos in fourth place, just behind the candidate of the neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn. The left-wing opposition party SYRIZA is expected to win, with the candidate of the governing New Democracy Party coming in second.

According to Vallianatos, Golden Dawn's popularity is surging as election-day approaches, and they are now within three points of overtaking the government's candidate. A second-place finish would guarantee the neo-Nazis a place in the May 25 runoff election.

'The stakes of a Golden Dawn ascension to the mayoral seat of Athens cannot be overstated,' a website supporting Vallianatos says.

Vallianatos himself has been assaulted and harassed multiple times by Golden Dawn since the onetime fringe party has won new support in the midst of Greece's economic crisis.

While Golden Dawn is known mainly for its violent attacks on Greece's immigrant communities, its leaders routinely refer to the LGBT community as 'sick and abnormal.' The group recently distributed leaflets in Athens' Gay neighborhoods which read, 'After the immigrants, you are next.'

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