Cops Attack Gay Couple In Athens For Holding Hands: Today In Gay

holding hands gay coupleTwo young men in Athens say they were assaulted by up to 10 police officers on Friday because they were seen holding hands.

George Kounanis and Harry Vassilakis tell Lifo they were in the city’s historic quarter when police officers began verbally harassing them. When they complained about the taunts, a uniformed officer shoved Kounanis up against a wall and told him “this is what real violence is.”

Vassalakis and Kounanais called a helpline but were told to report the incident to police headquarters.

“We feel as if we’re in a psychological maze. We feel totally helpless,” Vassilakis says. “We feel harassed by those who are supposed to protect us.”

While Athens has a vibrant gay scene and workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation is banned in Greece, the government continues to ignore a European Court of Human Rights ruling against its ban on civil unions for same-sex couples.

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A legion of drag queens in Columbus have broken the Guinness record for the number of drag queens in one performance.

Some 55 queens performed at Axis nighclub’s “Night of 100 Drag Queens” show, smashing an attempt in Seattle earlier this summer that brought 42 together.  “It was unbelievable to see all of these people come together to be a part of this event and a part of this moment,” said local drag queen icon Nina West, who co-hosted the event.

The event, a benefit, raised more than $13,000 to help bring the 2015 NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series to Columbus.

toni_atkins_345-2011-18800This week the state of California will briefly have its first openly gay mayor: Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, the first lesbian leader of the state assembly, will be in power for about nine hours as officials leave for scheduled travel.

Atkins is being sworn in because Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is traveling to Chicago, Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom is attending a Special Olympics event and Gov. Jerry Brown is on a trade mission in Mexico.

The Washington Post reports that Atkins was also the first lesbian mayor of San Diego when she briefly held office in 2005 after a predecessor resigned.

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If the Radical Right can’t stop the Internet, it’s determined to own it. On the heels of Sarah Palin’s newly launched web channel comes ReaganBook, a right-wing anti-gay alternative to Facebook.

Facebook, says ReaganBook founder Janet Porter, is too “liberal” and allegedly censored the homophobic spewings of professional anti-gay lobbyist Peter LaBarbera of  Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.

Porter has her own resume of anti-gay activism, including the 2013 video “Heather Has Two Cigarettes,” a parody of “Heather Has Two Mommies” that declares “gay behavior” to be more dangerous than smoking. YouTube removed the clip for violating its hate speech rules—a move Porter called “censoring scientific evidence as ‘hate speech.’”

She says ReaganBook is “tearing down walls of tyranny and censorship,” but as The New Civil Rights Movement rightly points out, it’s a copyright lawsuit waiting to happen.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.