This Human Library portrait is made in honor and memory of Zak Kostopoulos. On September 21st, 2018 his life was abruptly ended on the streets of Athens. A life dedicated to fighting and challenging stigma and eradicating prejudices around being HIV-positive and Gay in Greece. Zak Kostopoulos was brutally murdered by two men and eight police officers. We believe because of his sexual identity.
Since 2012, Zak Kostopolous has been one of the amazing books volunteering for the Human Library Greece in Athens, specifically challenging stigma about being HIV-positive and the life of a LGBTQ+ individual. In our experience Zak was a wonderful human being. Apart from volunteering as a book at the Human Library, Zak often performed and appeared as the drag queen Zackie Oh, and was a known LGBTIQ+ activist that fought for human rights. He was devoted to creating a more understanding and loving world for everyone. Zak spent a great deal of time bringing his messages to people around the world through his personal social media outlets.
We are sad, angry, and in great shock to learn of Zak’s brutal murder. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Zak’s family, friends, and all who were inspired by him throughout the world and who now lost a source.
According to PinkNews, Zak’s funeral was attended by his closest family, friends, locals and members of the LGBTIQ+ community, who all made sure his burial was celebrated the way he lived and his important role in queer advocacy. Instead of throwing dirt on the coffin, mourners threw pink, blue and purple glitter and tiny gay flags everywhere, and some drag queens threw their wigs in the grave too.
Kostopoulos often performed as drag queen Zackie Oh and appeared in a Vice Greece video exhibiting his routine, as well as starring in short film about living as an HIV-positive man and another about LGBT+ life in Athens
Today there is a demonstration in Brussels to demand justice for Zak. We support this call and urge the Greek authorities to take every step possible to resolve this tragic end to a very well respected and much loved human rights hero.
Video in Greek with interviews and images from performances from Zak.
Our Human Library Book of the Month is a series of portraits of our books created with the purpose of offering our readers a chance to understand the diversity and variety within our bookshelf around the world. It also provides unique insights into the motivations and values of being a book and volunteering for our organization.
“Hate is a self-fulfilling prophecy, because the less you know, the more you do not understand, and ninety-nine percent of hate is fueled by the unknown.” Meet Poppy Rose our book of the month for September.
Meet Batoul our Book of the Month for May 2018 from the Human Library Book Depot in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ten years on the bookshelf and still going strong. Currently with the topic: Victim of Stalking.
Meet Victor our Christian and Gay book from the Human Library in Romania. He is our book of the month for April and shares his thoughts on readers and facing up to negative stereotypes about the LGBTQ community in Romania.