Get out your best sunnies. Athens is about to turn the rainbow up to eleven for a week of non-stop celebrations – and commemorations - in the name of love.
This year marks the 15th outing of Athens Pride and it’s dedicated to the HIV positive activist and drag performer Zak Kostopoulos (Zackie Oh!) who was tragically murdered last year.
Athens Pride has grown from a modest fringe event to a mainstream celebration of gay rights that promotes inclusiveness and tolerance right across the city. The action kicks off at noon on Saturday, 1 June with a flash mob performance in Monastiraki Square, inspired by the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, the New York City uprising that sparked the global Gay Liberation movement.
For the next seven days, visitors to Athens can dip or dive headfirst into a rocking rota of parties, parades, campaigns and activations (choose from free open-air street soirees, ballroom dancing galas, Queer tango nights and drag performances, art gallery installations or free documentary screenings in English at the Greek film archive).
In a parallel pride week, the Onassis Stegi will premiere both a new book honouring the memory of Zak Kostopoulos and a new film Faster than Light, created in collaboration with Athens LGBTQI+ community, as well as setting up an information kiosk in Syntagma Square.
It’s all leading up to the main game: the Athens Pride 2019 parade and live concert, to be uncorked in Syntagma Square from 7pm on Saturday, 8 June.
Says Zak’s brother Nikos: “The closer we stand in solidarity, the more we keep talking and debating, thinking and learning, the quicker such expressions of hate will be put in check and – one day – gone for good”.
Check out the full Athens Pride festival programme here.