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Athens Pride Week 2021 Rescheduled

Syntagma Athens Pride 2019
Celebrants at Athens Pride 2019 with the theme, “the street has its own story.” Credit: Camerawalker Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Across the globe, June is PRIDE month, but in Greece, Athens Pride has been rescheduled. Continuing restrictions for Covid-19 have postponed the festival by a few weeks.

Athens Pride events have been pushed back to the week of July 18, originally set to begin on June 4, according to an announcement made by Athens Pride on Tuesday.

Pride parades are outdoor events celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary and questioning (LGBTQ+) social and self-acceptance, achievements, legal rights, and pride. The events also at times serve as demonstrations for legal rights such as same-sex marriage.

Athens Pride 2021 Will Fill Entire Summer

The organization posted that “this year’s Athens Pride will fill the entire summer of 2021, including a dynamic week of events” from July 18 to 25. Saturday, September 11, will be a dedicated day for Athens Pride. The theme of this year’s celebration, “This Is What Unites Us,” was announced late in May.

In 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions, Athens Pride was rescheduled as an online event only. Pride celebrations were exclusively online across the globe in June. Athens Pride participated in a 24-hour marathon global presentation.

The LGBTQ+ community in Athens has been celebrating Pride since 2005 to raise public awareness.

First Athens Pride Held 2005

The first Athens Pride took place in Klafthmonos Square. Various events of pride had been held in the city since the mid-1980s, but Athens Pride 2005 marked the first Pride parade in the city center, marching outside the Greek Parliament. An estimated 500 people attended the event.

Since 2005, Athens Pride has grown and developed, both in terms of participation and in terms of recognition and respect, by Greek society, becoming an integral institution of the city and its people. Until 2016, Athens Pride took place in Klafthmonos Square. In 2017 it was organized for the first time in Syntagma Square.

The relocation of the event to the central square of the country had been petitioned, for years, due to increasing crowd numbers but also because of its symbolic importance. Athens Pride 2017 took place in front of the Greek Parliament at Syntagma, with an estimated 60,000 participating in the 13th festival. In 2019, the last in-person Athens Pride event since the pandemic, estimated crowd size was almost 100,000.

Globally, most pride events occur annually, and some take place around June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, a pivotal moment in modern LGBTQ+ social movements. The parades seek to create community and honor the history of the movement. In 1970, pride and protest marches were held in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco around the first anniversary of Stonewall. The events became annual and grew internationally.

LGBTQ+ Parades for Pride Began 1970

In 2019, New York and the world celebrated the largest international Pride celebration in history: Stonewall 50 – World Pride NYC 2019, produced by Heritage of Pride commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, with five million attending in Manhattan alone.

The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar which catered to an assortment of patrons, but which was popular with the most marginalized people in the gay community: transvestites, transgender people, effeminate young men, hustlers, and homeless youth.

Early on the morning of Saturday, June 28, 1969, LGBTQ+ people rioted following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, New York City.

Gay rights protest movements were visible in 1965. The Annual Reminder pickets, organized by members of the lesbian group Daughters of Bilitis, and the gay men’s group Mattachine Society protested at both the White House and the United Nations.

The first pride march began in the summer of 1970. Chicago Gay Liberation organized a march from Washington Square Park to the Water Tower at the intersection of Michigan and Chicago avenues, which was the route originally planned.

Many of the participants spontaneously marched on to the Civic Center, now Richard J. Daley Plaza. The date was chosen because the Stonewall events began on the last Saturday of June and because organizers wanted to reach the maximum number of Michigan Avenue shoppers.

Many parades are largely dependent upon the political, economic, and religious settings of the area. However, in more accepting cities, the parades take on a festive or even Mardi Gras-like character, whereby the political stage is built on notions of celebration.

Large parades  often involve floats, dancers, drag queens and amplified music. Celebratory parades usually include political and educational contingents, such as local politicians and marching groups from LGBTQ+ institutions of various kinds. Other typical parade participants include local LGBTQ+ friendly churches and employee associations from large businesses.


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