Athens Gay Pride Week is normally held the first week of June, and is the city's largest genuflection to the local LGBTQ community. The gay pride event of the Greek capital is celebratory with parties and events, but it also carries a strong social message. In recent time, the Greek capital has become increasingly more open towards the LGBTQ community, making Athens Gay Pride worth penciling into your gay events' calendar this year.
With a strong religious influence and traditional values permeating the political and social fabric of Greece, Athens Pride took some time to gain traction. The very first official Athens Pride took place in 2005, on June 25, when an estimated 500 people took to the city streets in the hope of increasing LGBTQ visibility, and drawing attention to the needs of equal rights within the community. While 2005 welcomed the first official Athens Pride, prides and demonstrations have been taking place in the city since the 1980s, with the ongoing intention of maximizing visibility of LGBTQ people in Greece, all the while promoting their rights and claims.
2005 was special for Athens Gay Pride, however, as it was the first time a full-scale demonstration transpired in downtown Athens, outside of the city's Parliament. This sent a strong political message, and has since set the precedence in terms of LGBTQ visibility in Athens, and Greece more broadly. Until 2016, Athens Gay Pride took place in Klathmonos Square, and in 2017 it shifted to the more centrally located and well-known, Syntagma Square. This move represented both a symbolic and practical change for Athens Gay Pride. It is the country's main square, making the event itself much more public, and it is also much larger than Syntagma Square, facilitating the increased participation in Athens Gay Pride each year.
Athens Gay Pride is a chance for the local LGBTQ community and organizations to put forward aims, activities and demands. Athens Pride also hosts a number of health organizations that offer vital information as well as free on-site HIV and STI testing. So if you like the idea of experiencing your pride under the dreamy Greek sun, get yourself to Athens Gay Pride and immerse yourself in something that is equal parts social and equal parts political. We'll see you there!
Bear in mind that this is the event program for 2019. Stay tuned for the program for Gay Pride Athens 2020, coming soon. For 2019, Athens Gay Pride will color the city streets during the first week of June. Previous Athens Gay Pride events have featured rainbow games, DJ sets, a Zumba party, and of course a parade and party. This year, the main parade and party day is June 8.
Celebrations for the Athens Gay Pride Parade will start around 5pm, however it will officially kick off at 7pm, and wind its way through the city streets. The Mayor of Athens, Georgios Kaminis, foreign diplomats and representatives of the Justice Ministry will also be present. The live show and party held at Syntagma Square keeps the Greek gays partying until midnight and beyond!
With an estimated 40,000 people expected to attend this year, what are you waiting for? We'll see you at Athens Gay Pride 2019.