Gender and Greek Orthodoxy: A row over transgender rights erupts between Greece’s...

Gender and Greek Orthodoxy: A row over transgender rights erupts between Greece’s politicians and its clerics

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Main image:  AT LEAST in recent decades, the turbulent social world of Greece somehow managed to contain and hold in tension some extraordinary contradictions. Not least among these was the chasm between a conservative, established church, which is expected to beautify personal and national rites of passage, and a society whose morals and attitudes are ever more liberal and free-wheeling.But in the last few days, that strange co-existence seems to have broken down. Alexis Tsipras, the leftist prime minister, used all his considerable rhetorical powers to push through parliament a bill that makes it much easier for a person to change their legal gender. (In a memorable turn of phrase, he insisted that “absolutely no tradition, no perception of family, calls for people to be sidelined or tossed aside into a social and institutional abyss.”) Broadly, people will be able to register their legal existence under a different gender without having to undergo any physical or psychological examination. Hitherto such reassignments were not usually recognised unless the person had undergone surgery to change their physical sex.Campaigners for transgender rights hailed the change, approved by a comfortable majority of legislators, as a long-overdue concession to fundamental human rights. They were still unhappy, ...

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