Goals of ERMIS
The main goals are threefold:
- To give advice and inform about the way of life and the situation of homosexual and bisexual migrants in Germany
- To inform about AIDS
- To help when problems arise within one's family, or with regard to the military service or religion, that are in some way related to homosexuality
Especially homosexual or bisexual foreigners experience discrimination in several ways when their sexual preferences are disclosed:
- general intolerance towards gays and lesbians in society
- depending on appearance and the ability of speaking the local language, they may be exposed to xenophobia
- rejection within their own national community
Family in the Greek society is not confined to father, mother, brothers and sisters, but rather includes uncles, aunts, cousins, too - even second and third ones. Quite a large circle of people! 'Family' has a high level of importance - family members always stick together!
To think that all these people would suddenly start putting pressure on one or even threaten you is unbearable. Age doesn't matter. If you come out, you are very likely to become isolated and lose any kind of support. Therefore many fear to come out within their family setting. To have the opportunity to talk about these fears to someone who knows exactly what this 'sin' is about is a key factor for ERMIS.
To fulfil one's military duty has a high traditional value in the Greek society. For many this is the biggest obstacle to overcome in their lifetime. The alternative of a social service is missing from the political agenda in Greece. There is no way of refusing military service for moral reasons either. This is why many young men decide to leave their home country. ERMIS would like to help them to integrate more easily.
The Greek-orthodox church also plays a vital role and is an integral part of Greek culture. The orthodox belief is omnipresent in daily life and has a high impact on the whole way of life. This makes for a huge conflict for many, and one has to talk about this to prevent prejudice and discrimination in the first place.
- Leisure time activities from A to Z:
Especially our Greek parties provide an opportunity to increase the understanding of the Greek socio-cultural setting and to live our culture openly and without restrictions. This is not necessarily possible in a heterosexual setting.
- Contacts to other organisations:
A crucial feature for our work as both parties involved benefit from mutual contacts. Thus we can better fulfil the expectations of our members, and our partners get the chance to experience Greek joy of life and culture. Our contacts to organizations in Greece help us develop a complete picture of all new aspects relevant to Greek homosexuals living abroad
We are constantly looking out for new ways of informing people about homosexuality and bisexuality. We see this as a chance of decreasing latent homophobia.
- Visible presence:
Participation in CSD (Gay Pride) parades, demonstrations and discussions. Presence in the media and the internet offer ERMIS the means to reach complete legal recognition and integration into society.
That's why we need YOU to join ERMIS!