A 31-year-old trans woman named Anna Ivankova has been found dead in her apartment in Athens, Greece. Ivankova, who was born in Cuba, reportedly moved to Greece in 2019 after battling against violence and discrimination due to her gender identity.
According to information released by Greek police, Ivankova’s body was discovered by her landlord, who had come to collect the rent. She had been repeatedly stabbed with a sharp object and died of hemorrhagic shock early in the morning on Monday, July 10. Her death is being investigated as a homicide.
Ivankova’s tragic murder highlights the multiple vulnerabilities faced by Black transgender women. In addition to her gender identity, she was also a refugee and occasionally engaged in sex work. These intersecting identities made her more susceptible to violence and discrimination.
The misgendering of Ivankova by both Greek police and news outlets further compounds the tragedy of her death. It reflects a lack of respect for her gender identity even after she has passed away.
Anna’s Life and Activism
Anna Ivankova was an active member of the LGBTQ+ community in Athens. She worked as a dancer-performer at popular nightclubs like Koukles and was known for her passionate performances on stage.
Ivankova’s friends remember her as a proud woman who never gave up despite facing numerous challenges throughout her life. She left Cuba after experiencing repeated arrests by transphobic police officers before seeking asylum in various countries including Russia, Serbia, Macedonia, and finally Greece.
The Conservative Climate in Greece
Greece itself is a deeply conservative country, as evidenced by the recent election results that saw the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ politicians. This conservative climate contributes to an increase in attacks and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.
According to a ranking by IGLA-Europe, Greece scored just 52 out of 100 possible points for LGBTQ+ equality in 2022. This low score highlights the urgent need for progress and reform in terms of LGBTQ+ rights and protections.
A Call for Justice
Ivankova’s murder has sparked outrage and grief within the LGBTQ+ community in Greece. Thousands of people gathered in Agios Panteleimonas, the district where she lived, to protest against her killing and express their anger towards far-right groups.
Protestors carried signs with slogans like “Anger and rage, we miss Anna,” “Anna lives, let’s hang the Nazis,” and “for every machista and transphobe, there’s a hottie with a tire iron.” These protests serve as a powerful call for justice and change.
Fighting for Greater Representation
The Greek queer movement has historically been predominantly white. However, activists are now working towards supporting refugee populations within the LGBTQ+ community to ensure their voices are heard and they have greater representation.
Organizations like Emantes are advocating for policy changes that protect transgender refugees from violence and discrimination. They aim to create an inclusive society where all individuals can participate fully without fear or prejudice.
In Memory of Anna Ivankova
Anna Ivankova’s tragic death is a devastating loss for the Black trans community in Greece and serves as a stark reminder of the violence and discrimination faced by transgender individuals worldwide. It is crucial that her case is thoroughly investigated, and justice is served.
Her memory will live on as activists continue to fight for LGBTQ+ rights, representation, and equality in Greece and beyond.