LGBT / Gay Guide To Greece
Although same-sex sexual activity is legal in Greece, members of the LGBT community may encounter problems that heterosexual individuals do not have to face, as they are not afforded the same legal rights. Same-sex sexual activity between men was decriminalised in 1951, but the age of consent still isn’t equalised. There are anti-discrimination laws in place when it comes to employment, but in other areas of life there are no such laws, meaning that members of the LGBT community can face discrimination without legal recourse. There is a deep sense of conservatism that runs through Greek society and this is reflected in the media, which both shapes and reflects attitudes towards homosexuality. Greece is certainly a long way from even entertaining the idea of gay marriage and allowing same-sex couples to adopt.
Despite this, there are areas in Greece where a gay subculture has been able to develop and where you can feel safe to be open about your sexuality, including the island of Mykonos and the city of Athens, most notably the Gazi district. Plus, Rhodes Island, Thessaloniki, and Skiathos Island play host to a number of LGBT-friendly events and activities, meaning that there are a number of places worth exploring in Greece where your sexuality is less likely to be an issue.
Mykonos is a particularly popular tourist destination because of the beautiful beaches, notable landmarks and cosmopolitan nightlife. During the day you can enjoy exploring the island. You may decide to visit the museums, walk through the town and do some shopping or sample the local cuisine. If you want to keep active, you will find there are plenty of opportunities to walk, cycle, run and enjoy water sports, such as surfing, swimming and canoeing. At night you can visit the numerous gay bars, pubs and clubs located on the island and if you’re interested in the island’s main LGBT event, the XLSIOR Festival, it is well worth heading to the island in August, as this is when it takes place.
Athens is a Greek city well worth visiting for its culture and heritage. It is the location of many historical sites, which is unsurprising since it is one of the world’s oldest cities. So, if you’re interested in history and culture, you will be spoiled for choice in the capital of Greece. That is not to say there aren’t less high-brow activities you can engage in. There is also a vibrant nightlife in the city and if you’re particularly interested in the gay subculture, you should probably head to Gazi, as this is the city’s gay village. Here you will find establishments, such as gay clubs, bars and saunas where you can meet other men. Athens also plays host to its own gay pride event and the OUTVIEW film festival.
There are events held in other areas of Greece, including Rhodes Island where the relatively new LGBT event, Ryana, is held. Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece, holds its annual gay pride event in June and here you will meet other members of the LBGT community, who come together in celebration of their sexuality. Homotopia is another event held in the city which attracts a large gay crowd. Skiathos Island might also be worth visiting for the Skiathos Gay Culture Festival, where LGBT culture is celebrated.
Overall, then, despite the overarching conservatism of Greek society, there are also places in the country with a more cosmopolitan atmosphere and fewer issues with regard to sexuality. There are events and activities which are aimed specifically at the LGBT community and so it is possible to get a taste of gay culture in Greece, as well as be able to appreciate historical sites and areas of natural beauty which are to be found throughout the country.
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