Hot on the (stiletto) heels of the expansion of initiatives like Athens Pride, young queer Athenians are becoming more political in their views and their art. Visit Athens for a weekend or city break and you can dig deeper into the city's underground scene at a local queer art space, a drag show, or a flamboyant festival that celebrates a rainbow of orientations.
LGBT+ Art and Performances in Athens
Atopos CVC is a non-profit arts foundation in Metaxourgeio, with a strong yet playful focus on fashion, queer identity, and alternative readings of gender politics. Recent highlights include a collectible tome full of erotic and bizzare nudes sourced from the Internet, and an installation featuring plush, oversized vulvas by Greek artist Antigoni Tsagkaropoulou.
The Athens Museum of Queer Arts (AMOQA) suggests an institution with a formal structure and scale. In fact, AMOQA is a small initiative that organises special nights, workshops and performances related to sexuality and gender in various venues. It has become a gathering point for the queer community, as it supports radical creativity and social inclusivity.
Founded by American performance artist and curator Macklin Kowal, Sub Rosa Space is an experimental project space in downtown Athens dedicated to experimental performance art surrounding issues of gender, identity, and the body. Housed in a former office space, Sub Rosa often hosts artists for short residencies.
One of Athens' most active and exciting arts venues, the Onassis Stegi is a vocal proponent of social inclusivity and political equality. Its rich and varied programming often features cutting-edge work celebrating diversity and queer aesthetics. Check out their calendar to see what's on while you're in town.
The hyperactive collective FYTA deconstructs gender, identity and Greekness on its own absurdist and irreverent terms. Known for their witty performances, the group also curates festivals and events, releases its own music and publications, and organises a queer party called Glam Slam. This takes place once or twice a year, so check their Facebook page for updates.
Chraja (of house of Kareola fame) and Filothei are amongst Athens' most famous performers who use drag, fashion and pop culture references as a way to critique patriarchal and nationalistic notions within Greek society -- all bundled up in regular drag show performances at BEqueer club.
The troupe at Koukles club consists mostly of transgender women and some drag queens. The focus is more on humour and kitsch here (think impersonations of famous divas and Greek cinema stars). Don't hesitate to ask a Greek for context if you don't get the joke.
LGBT+ Books and Magazines in Athens
Lovers of printed matter will appreciate the collection of queer books at Colourful Planet, the city's only LGBT+ bookshop. Here you'll find queer art and photography books, magazines, comics and more. Magazine aficionados will appreciate the aesthetically pleasing and unabashedly tantalising Fluffer Everyday magazine, which cheekily explores the area between pornography and art. For mainstream LGBT+ news and what's hot on the Athenian scene now, grab a copy of Antivirus magazine, which is distributed free around the city.
LGBT+ Events in Athens
Athens Pride takes place every June with a big march around Syntagma Square, as well as concerts, parties and parallel events. Athens also has its own queer film festival, called Outview. It usually happens in spring and presents an exciting programme of queer feature and short films from around the world. The Athens Queer Theatre Awards is an annual event that celebrates diversity in Greek theatre with awards in acting, direction, music, set design and more. Purple Nights is another queer party organised by DJ and creative The Dreamer who since 2016 has been transforming various spaces in Athens into an almost theatrical rave experience. Check their Facebook page for updates.
LGBT+ Activism in Athens
Athens has an activated queer community that engages with LGBT+ rights and gender issues through art, politics and theory. Among this network are various organisations promoting equal rights and visibility for LGBT+ people across specific demographics. Athens Pride has been instrumental in raising awareness about LGBT+ people in Greece since 2006. On a smaller scale, organisations like Colour Youth , Athens Queer Collective and the Greek Transgender Support Association fight for the protection of human rights for minorities in Greece. In the wake of the recent refugee crisis, the group LGBTQIA+ Refugees Welcome was founded to protect and support what has been called "the smallest minority in Athens". Founded by trans activist and sex worker Paola Revenioti, Paola Team Documentaries is a production company that shoots documentaries about LGBT+ issues in Greece. Their most famous film is about kaliarnta, the dialect used by Greek cross-dressing prostitutes and gay men to avoid persecution since the 1940s. Beaver, is a women's collective founded to create a safe space for women and "other misfits", as they state on their website. They run a cosy café in Gazi, which occasionally hosts events and parties. The non-profit Checkpoint provides free HIV tests and related support anonymously.