Lesbos islanders dispute gay name
By Malcolm Brabant
BBC News, Athens
The term lesbian is now widely used to describe homosexual women
Campaigners on the Greek island of Lesbos are to go to court in an attempt to stop a gay rights organisation from using the term "lesbian".
The islanders say that if they are successful they may then start to fight the word lesbian internationally.
The issue boils down to who has the right to call themselves Lesbians.
Is it gay women, or the 100,000 people living on Greece's third biggest island - plus another 250,000 expatriates who originate from Lesbos?
The man spearheading the case, publisher Dimitris Lambrou, claims that international dominance of the word in its sexual context violates the human rights of the islanders, and disgraces them around the world.
He says it causes daily problems to the social life of Lesbos's inhabitants.
In court papers, the plaintiffs allege that the Greek government is so embarrassed by the term Lesbian that it has been forced to rename the island after its capital, Mytilini.
An early court date has now been set for judges to decide whether to grant an injunction against the Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece and to order it to change its name.
A spokeswoman for the group has described the case as a groundless violation of freedom of expression, and has pledged to fight it.
The term lesbian originated from a mythological goddess and poet called Sappho, who was a native of Lesbos.
Sappho expressed her love of other women in poetry written during the 7th Century BC.
But according to Mr Lambrou, new historical research has discovered that Sappho had a family, and committed suicide for the love of a man.