The transexual artist, Paola Revenioti, had a photographic exhibition on 20 November 2014, depicting the naked bodies of trans and gay individuals. Citizens complained about the content and the Cyprus state police walked in, without notifying anyone, and charged the organisation for publicly displaying obscenities: namely, penises. Note, the exhibition is supported by the municipality of Nicosia and by the national LGBT association. Further note, homosexuality has been decriminalized since 1998. Final note, Cyprus has happily agreed to embrace all articles of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Article 10 of the convention clearly states: everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
I am looking for a lawyer to take on the above case. This is a voluntary position. It follows equality and diversity guidelines.
Please apply via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I could do one of two things here. I could begin by giving you a history of censorship, by describing the artwork and its aesthetic and political value, and in turn philosophically justify why art that entails any nudity should be exhibited. Not simply in the form of abundant nude Aphrodite logos which have honoured Cypriot stamps amongst other paraphernalia. But I’m not going to do that. I am tired of educating people about the (often inexistent) utopian pillars of society and democracy. In fact, this advert is not directed to the sceptical ones on the other side of the argument. If the reader of this advert is already uncertain whether the police has the right to censor exhibitions that contain nudity of, specifically, gay and trans identities, then I have no time, energy or space to unpack this here. There are many books and a world wide web that will do the job.
So I’m going to do something else instead, something “straight” to the point. This advert is aimed at the state police and it is a classified advert for a human rights lawyer. I, Diana Georgiou, want to order the prosecution of the citizens that filed a complaint and the police officers and/or state police who enforced the censorship. I don’t care who gets the charge and I don’t care about the effect that such a charge might have on the citizen’s or individual officer’s career, family, life, and so on. I don’t care how much of the state budget it will cost in taxpayers’ money to close this case either. I simply don’t care about the consequences as this time, this side of the scale has tipped. You see, I am always outspoken about the flagrant racism, sexism and homophobia that saturates the island. But this time it cut a little too close to something that matters to me a little more than the usual criteria of individual well-being. And what matters more than work, family and so on, is freedom of expression. Because, a human that does not have the right to express their gender, sexuality and creativity has, quite frankly, not made it to the ranks of humanity.
Please do not confuse this with the idea that anyone, anywhere should be able to express their sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic and xenophobic ideas. That’s hate speech and if you are expressing hate speech you should be prosecuted.
Diana Georgiou (on behalf of expression)