The Queer Scene in Athens
“Greece has made a lot of progress,” says Alexandros, 32, a journalist living as an openly gay man in Athens and a member of the LGBTQ+ community. “In 2015, civil unions were legalized for same-sex couples and in 2017 transgender people were granted the right to have their gender identity recognized and change their legal sex without having to undergo surgical alteration. Our main claims at the moment are the legalization of same-sex marriages and joint adoption. Recently, a draft bill was submitted to the Greek Parliament by Syriza, the official opposition party, concerning these matters and we are waiting to see if the government follows through.”
During the 21st century, queer culture has become a political force that stands against patriarchal notions and conservatism in Greek society. Alexandros is optimistic about the future but he seems skeptical when the conversation shifts to safety and how open Greek society is to diversity, urging queer people to be wary of the areas they visit.
"Queer people are behind the most interesting events happening in the city, young persons with extremely original and creative ideas. Every season, each week is filled with special events, parties, balls, performances, theatre plays, etc. Boredom is not an option.”
“As in most parts of the western world queer people can be victims of bullying, homophobic slurs, even violence if they show any signs of affection. The centre is usually a safe space but many other districts outside downtown Athens are not, as well as many places in the suburbs and the wider region. In this case, I would suggest for gay couples who are thinking of coming to Greece to check beforehand all the places that are not considered tourist areas. It is important to stress here that hate speech and violence against LGBTQ+ individuals or groups are under the Law Against Racism and Xenophobia in Greece so if something bad happens, they should by any means report it to the police. Greek society may be sympathetic towards sexual orientations but it falls behind in the matter of gender expression. We are not Berlin or London. If a person is dressed with clothes that are not stereotypical to their gender then it’s more likely to attract unwanted glances or even to get ridiculed on the street.”
“Apart from that, the queer scene is thriving. Queer people are behind the most interesting events happening in the city, young persons with extremely original and creative ideas. Every season, each week is filled with special events, parties, balls, performances, theatre plays, etc. Boredom is not an option.”