Through Game Changer, Impact Hub Athens is proud to promote the Proud Story of a young person in Athens and to ensure their story, experience and perspective is heard.
Demographics (Name, Age, Region)
Chatziliadis Konstantinos, Kolonos (Athens)
When did you discover your orientation? What was the trigger?
The journey of discovering myself has been long, complicated and painful at times, but I appreciated it every step of the way, because it made me the person I am today. When it comes to my gender identity, my first, “doubts” appeared when I was just a 4 years old boy. I was sure I would grow up and become man who would make his mom proud. As I got older, the feeling became even more intense and the bullying I received didn’t help. I was closing in on myself and hating myself. How did I know that what I really feel is indeed there?
At the age of 14, when I started expanding my social life and seeing what is happening in the world and getting informed, I only then realised one afternoon that what I feel is real. I see my dreamy adult self. I realise I’m not crazy. I started putting together all the pieces of the puzzle. Still, I was scared. I had a hard time accepting myself and in the end I made it to the age of 16-17. Since then, I have been living openly as a trans person and I am proud of it.
What do you think it is? Nature or experience? (born or acquired on the go)
I clearly believe and argue that homosexuality and transgender are a matter of nature. It is a natural thing in the sense that every living organism has a separate configuration that, if there is any, it’s defined by nature. Within this configuration are preferences, inclinations, feelings, character and that traits that are not based on heredity. It’s just our nature. After all, homosexuality exists in other mammals.
Have you ever encountered any negative behaviors? Describe some incidents you remember.
Unfortunately, yes – I have experienced quite a few incidents like the majority of the LGBTQI+ community. Fortunately, these incidents did not result in physical violence and I am grateful for that. The worst experience I have encountered still remains engraved in my mind, which took place 1 year ago. I was getting on the bus to go to my class and the driver asked me to get out of the vehicle because as he said, “he does not allow people like me on his bus”.
How do you define the concept of, “normal”? What’s normal to you?
The word ‘normal’ is a strange term. We have agreed in social terms, on a subject that this is normal-acceptable so, it’s normal.
I do not think the concept of normal is definite. The concept of normal to me is what exists in the world, in nature amd in humans. It is normal for me to accept your normal self, and it’s normal to be gay, normal to be trans and normal to be human.
Have you received positive comments/support for your gender expression? Describe some of the incidents you remember.
I have received many positive comments from the people I want to have close to me. My mother’s response when I came out was, “so what?” Since then, she has constantly updated me about it and support me in whatever way she can, standing by me and showing me that she loves me no matter what. I feel really lucky to have people by my side to support me. I feel even luckier that my family is among them.
How do you respond to homophobic comments?
It is certain that a homophobic or transphobic comment is going to hurt, at least at that moment. Most of the times, however, I do not take part in situations like these, as most comments are made behind your back. It doesn’t bother me as I know they exist and they will continue to exist.
I’m just going forward knowing what I am and who I am, being proud of it. When someone goes on and continues their homophobic hate speech, which is not a phobia but in reality, it’s simple ignorance. With such arguments, I am am always ready for the biggest debate of the century.
How do you think the mindset can be changed?
My dream from a young age was to install an artificial intelligence and logic chip in the human brain, but unfortunately it is too dreamy and too good to be true. Back in real life, I do not believe that there are things that can be done that will bring rapid change. Each person has a different mindset and it is ultimately up to them to handle it. So if someone doesn’t want to open their eyes and mind, they simply won’t.
We are definitely going to continue claiming our rights, showing our pride, showing what normal really is, and that we are not mistakes of nature or worth killing and we will not stop until we have no reason to do so.