Dimitris Kalogiannis, 65, a trans woman who had been missing since April, has been found dead in Greece.
Kalogiannis disappeared on 6 April, but it took a full seven weeks for officials to issue a “silver alert” – the Greek early warning system for missing elderly people.
According to Greek Reporter, police in Greece froze the process because the woman had disappeared from a psychiatric hospital.
Tragically, Dimitris has now been found dead. Her body was reportedly identified by her brother on Thursday (10 June).
Kalogiannis grew up on the island of Lesvos in a strictly religious family, she told queer filmmaker Tzeli Hadjidimitriou last year as he made a documentary about her.
She said she had known she was trans from a young age, but when she told her family that she was a woman, they sent her to a psychiatric hospital for a month.
When she was released, she was told she would have to stay on medication. She refused to take it, but her family decided to hide it in her food.
In her 20s, Kalogiannis escaped to Athens for five years. She returned to Lesvos when her mother fell sick and nursed her for the next 25 years. After her mother’s death, she said, she felt “totally free”.
In 2015, Kalogiannis became known for helping refugees whose boats often arrived in Lesvos.
But her mental health continued to suffer in recent years. This was exacerbated when, in December, 2020, a group of teenagers broke into her home and humiliated her, filming her and uploading it online.
Dimitris was a patient at the Dromokaitio psychiatric clinic at the time of her disappearance.
Proud Seniors Greece, an LGBT+ organisation for older people, told Greek Reporter: “We believe that the people in charge of Dromokaitio have a great responsibility.”
Dimitris never changed her traditionally male name, even when she was able to live openly as a woman.
She told Hadjidimitriou: “I say that my name is Dimitris. What should I say? Dimitra? It makes no difference. A rose is always a rose, no matter how you call it.”