So we arrived in Athens, Greece after a somewhat horrific time at the Moscow airport. I’m exhausted. I would spend the entire day with the members of Gay Russia, and then often return to our hostel and work on my computer till 4am. When we arrive at our hotel, Sarah tells me the bad news. The members of Athens Pride have said they are too busy to meet with us before the Pride. Coming from Moscow, where we were granted total access, in much more difficult situations, I’m frustrated. The next day, I eat something I shouldn’t have and spend the next two days sick in bed. My energy level is low.
The day before the Pride there is a press conference. We get there early in hopes of meeting one of the organizers for a 10-15 minute interview. It’s here we meet Stefano, who is kind enough to answer all of our questions, and to give us a general idea about the community here in Athens. But soon enough, a bit more frustration sets in. I guess they don’t have a photographer there, so I am being asked to take photos and give them away on the spot. I’m not huge on press conference photos, but I do what I can and send them copies later that night.
The Pride goes on. It’s a good party-like atmosphere, and the participants are extremely friendly. The route goes through some of the busiest parts of Athens, and directly in front of their Parliament building.
This woman showed up to share her feelings on Jesus. One of the many things I have come to admire about the LGBT communities that I’ve met is their sense of humor. She isn’t yelled at, or pushed away. Instead, she is invited up on one of the floats and spends the entire Pride trying to preach to the beats of Lady Gaga and Madonna.
After the march, everyone heads back to the park where it all began for a stage show and dancing. The organizers have hired photographers to take pictures of the stage area, and I am denied even 5 minutes on the stage to take pictures of the crowd, “We do not need your photos.” I’m told by one of the volunteers. A few of the organizers we met at the press conference are standing just feet away.
The next day I receive an email from the Athens Pride organizers asking me for more photos.