Monks of Mount Athos urge government to scrap gender identity law


The monks of Mount Athos in northern Greece have urged the left-led government to withdraw draft legislation that would allow free determination of gender identity irrespective of how it was recorded at birth.

In a letter to Education Minister Costas Gavroglou and Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis, the monks say that the bill is “in violation of God’s law.” They also attack existing legislation allowing cohabitation agreements between same-sex couples as well as the content of religious education classes at Greek schools.

On Thursday, the Church of Greece’s governing body, the Holy Synod, also urged the government to scrap the bill, saying that gender is something people are born with and cannot choose.

In a statement issued following a session chaired by Archbishop Ieronymos, the synod noted that the proposed bill “provokes public sentiment, torpedoes the holy institution of the family, opposes Christian values and common sense and, above all, destroys human beings.”

Under current laws, Greeks who want to change their gender definition must prove they have had surgery to change their sex and undergo psychiatric treatment.

Greek MPs are to start discussing the proposed legislation on Monday ahead of a vote expected to take place in Parliament late on Tuesday.

If approved, Greeks will henceforth be able to designate their gender with a simplified and discreet court process.