Partying at Athens Pride

Published Date Author: , June 16th, 2015

Athens Pride - Briand Bedford

Athens Pride - Briand BedfordOn Saturday the 13th June the 11th the largest Gay Pride Parade in Greece took place in Athens. With officially 32 000 participants this was the largest gay parade that has ever taken place in Greece. Important sponsors of the parade include Shark Energy Drink, the Greek gay publication antivirus, the Hilton Hotel Athens and the Greek airline Aegean.

The first Athens Pride took place in June 2005. Although various “pride” events had been held in the city since the mid-1980s, Athens Pride 2005 marked the first Pride Parade through the city center and past the Hellenic Parliament during daylight hours. Approximately 500 people took part in that event.

Athens Pride - Briand BedfordAthens Pride is an all-volunteer, non-profit registered partnership operating under the Greek Civil Code since 2006. Its primary function is to organize the annual Athens Pride festival and parade. Additionally, Athens Pride produces cultural, social, and political events during the year, alone or in partnership with other organizations. Athens Pride also hosts a number of health organizations that offer vital information as well as free on-site HIV/STD testing.

The motto of the parade was “Take a Stand” which was taken up by several embassies in the city, including the Netherlands, Canada and France. Many high-level embassy employees joined the parade with billboards calling for the “Diplomats to take a stand”. According to the Gay Pride organisers “The Athens Pride Festival focuses on the concepts of equality and freedom of choice from the perspective of family life as defined by every LGBT person and specifically on the legal recognition of all LGBT families”.

Athens Pride - Briand BedfordImportant and prominent speakers at the rally which took place at the Klafthmonos Square, close to the Greek Parliament Building included Ambassadors, the president of the Greek Parliament, the ministry of Justice and the major of Athens, Mr. Giorgos Kaminis, who spoke to the crowd prior to the parade. He informed the gay community in Greece that the new government aims to introduce a Civil Partnership Law within the next few months. This new law, which will be part of broader legislation introduced, includes rights on insurance, taxation, inheritance and other privileges afforded to other Greek citizens. A vote in the Greek parliament is expected to take place in early July 2015.

Athens Pride - Briand BedfordThe Greek State continues to deny us this right, even after the European Court of Human Rights decided on 11/2013 that “Greece has violated the European Convention on Human Rights by excluding same-sex couples from its Civil Partnership Law.”

The rally at the Klafthmonos Square in Athens started in the early afternoon with stands from local LGBT groups and organisations. A stage with local aerobic groups, energetic music and animation for the crowd created a fantastic atmosphere, despite the sweltering 32 degrees and relentless sunshine.

Athens Pride - Briand BedfordAfter the speeches from the major and members of the Greek parliament the parade set off at 7pm with 5 floats on the traditional route through the centre of Athens. It was almost dark when going past the Parliament building. The parade ended back at around 9pm at Klafthmonos Square where the party carried on until the early hours of the morning with eight DJs as well as famous local singers and bands, including Ted Rogers & Orange Gina.

Athens Pride - Briand BedfordThe Greeks certainly know how to have a party. Despite, or probably due to the economic crisis in Greece the crowd forgot their problems for a while and enjoyed a fantastic, violent-free parade. It was a true celebration of Pride, strengthened by the prospect of new legislation and new gay rights. The general attitude in Greece is that the locals believe that things can’t get worse than they already are – so stop worrying and enjoy life for a short time.

By Briand Bedford, Spartacus | Greece Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events
Images by Briand Bedford

Athens Pride - Briand Bedford

Athens Pride - Briand Bedford

Athens Pride - Briand Bedford

Athens Pride - Briand Bedford

Athens Pride - Briand Bedford

Athens Pride - Briand Bedford

Athens Pride - Briand Bedford

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