Athens Pride – June 5, 2010

Athens Greece, Walk With Pride, Athens Pride, Human Rights, Gay RightsSo 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.

Athens Pride, InterPride, Gay Rights, Human RightsThe 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.

Athens Pride, Walk With Pride, Gay Rights, Athens GreeceThe 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.

Athens Pride, Gay Pride, Greece, Riot Police, Human RightsThe Athens Riot Police may be some of the most experienced in the world.  They were very professional, and there was absolutely no violence.

Athens Pride, Gay Pride, Religion, protestor, Athens GreeceThis 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.

Athens Pride, Gay Pride, Gay Rights, Transgender, Athens GreeceA participant of the Pride takes a rest next to a much more traditional resident of Athens.

Athens Pride, Gay Pride, Human Rights, Gay RIghtsAfter 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.

Athens Pride, Gay Pride, Human Rights, Athens Greece

The next day I receive an email from the Athens Pride organizers asking me for more photos.

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About wwpproject

Charles “Chad” Meacham (Project photographer) Charles was born just outside of Philadelphia, PA, and began traveling immediately after high school. He picked up a camera at the age of 30, and has since been fortunate to win over 20 international awards including those from National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, and PDN magazines. The idea for this project was sparked after attending the 2009 Taipei Pride event, one of the largest pride parades in Asia. For other examples of his work visit: http://www.charlesmeacham.com/ Sarah Baxter (Project Coordinator) Sarah is the “blogging guru” of this project, and is contact person/organizer. Born in Athens, Ohio, Sarah enjoys traveling, and has since taken up residence in Los Angeles, NE Thailand, North Africa, and most recently in Taipei, Taiwan.
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