Dipla Sou: LGBTQI+ Helpline
Why this project?
From Gregory C. Pappas, President & Founder
Suicide rates amongst LGBTQI+ teens in Europe are staggeringly high, with estimates in countries like Greece, Italy and Spain — where the church plays a significant role in affairs — considerably higher. This helpline is providing critical and much-needed support to an underserved, vulnerable population group in Greece — young people who are in crisis with sexual and gender identity issues and, in some cases, contemplating suicide. We launched this campaign in an effort to provide additional funding for the helpline, which struggles to receive support from mainstream organizations and institutions — especially from the Greek diaspora. Our hope is that we can help shift the narrative and bring LGBTQI+ issues in Greece to the forefront.
About this campaign
We are proud to announce that the Greek America Foundation, under the chairmanship of the Honorable Dean Trantalis, Mayor of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, has launched an awareness and fundraising campaign to support Greece’s LGBTQI+ Helpline 11528 – By Your Side.
The line, used by more than 1,000 people annually, is served by teams of psychologists to help young Greeks in crisis with sexual and gender identity issues. The line also provides support to teachers, parents and family members on how to approach such matters.
Suicide rates amongst LGBTQI+ teens in Europe are staggeringly high, with estimates in countries like Greece, Italy and Spain — where the church plays a significant role in affairs — considerably higher.
Greece’s helpline has helped thousands of people overcome crisis situations and is a critical social welfare organization that requires more than $100,000 in annual funding. The funds are necessary to secure professional psychologists to answer phone calls and host face-to-face sessions with people in need of support.
Thanos Vlachogiannis, who serves as the helpline’s project manager, says that support from the Greek America Foundation couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Sadly, in conservative countries like Greece, where religious influence and homophobic attitudes are prevalent in society, funding is hard to obtain and organizations like ours must receive support from a variety of sources like the Greek America Foundation,” Vlachogiannis said. “We are especially excited to work alongside a diaspora organization for the first time.”
This initiative was conceptualized thanks to introductions and support from U.S. Consul General in Thessaloniki Elizabeth Lee, who has encouraged more diaspora support for organizations such as these in Greece.
Our initiative formally launched at an event in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on March 12, during the Greek America Foundation’s annual winter retreat. The event was co-chaired by Mayor Dean Trantalis and Foundation board member Spiro Verras.
Alex Patelis, chief economic advisor to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, recorded a special video message to express his support for our cause.
Patelis, who is the first openly gay high-profile member of any Greek government, congratulated the Greek America Foundation and our supporters for creating the initiative and encourages viewers to participate.
“We need your help. We encourage you to support in any way you can, whether it’s financial support or emotional support,” Patelis said. “Let’s all move forward together to promote LGBT rights in Greece and build a bridge between the Greek-American community, the United States and Greece.”
“Together, we stand stronger. Together, we stand prouder,” Patelis said.
Our campaign will include fundraising and public awareness efforts from members of the LGBTQI+ Greek American community, as well as allies and supporters.
For more information about the helpline, visit the organization’s website.
How to get involved
Pledge your monthly/annual support
Recurring monthly or yearly donations are the best way to guarantee the viability and sustainability of this initiative. Join our Circle of Support today!
Make a one-time donation
Make a one-time contribution to directly support the helpline. If you prefer to donate via check, please click here to complete our donation form.
Organize an event/fundraiser
Plan a fundraising event with others in your community. Get creative and bring together those whom you believe would support this initiative! Facebook and Instagram fundraisers are also a great virtual option and allow you to channel the power of your network. Please email us if you have an idea and wish to discuss it further.
Join our email list
If you’re interested in receiving updates specifically related to this cause, sign up for our email list.
About Project Hope for Greece
This campaign falls under the auspices of Project Hope for Greece, our fundraising effort launched in 2012 in response to the worsening financial and humanitarian crises in Greece.