Queer Athens is a bilingual oral history archive that shares the stories and experiences of Greek LGBTQ+ people from the 1960s to the present in their own words.
Our mission is twofold: to share the rich tradition of queer activism in Greece with a wider audience, domestically and abroad, and to bear witness to the profound changes in what it has meant to be queer in Greece from the mid-20th century to the present.
We were inspired to launch Queer Athens after noticing a profound community need.
As the queer community in Greece grows larger and more empowered each year, we share bits and pieces of our personal and political stories with each other in a casual and impromptu way.
However, most of us lack a comprehensive understanding of the history of queer life and advocacy in Greece. We may know about the history of political projects we were personally involved in, and we are often most knowledgeable about the lived experiences of people who are the most similar to ourselves.
At Queer Athens, we are building a central platform to share the stories of a broad range of LGBTQ+ people from diverse backgrounds with an equally diverse audience. We are especially excited about fostering cross-generational conversations and knowledge-sharing. Thanks to our bilingual Greek/English format, we will also be able to share the queer history of Greece with an international audience.
Our vision was inspired by existing queer community archival projects, such as the ACT UP Oral History Project, a collection of nearly 200 interviews with key participants in the work of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power in New York City, and the Queer Newark Oral History Project, which uses geography as a unifying factor in preserving and sharing the stories of notable queer community members.
Oral history – the practice of recording narrative accounts of important historical and cultural events and periods given by people who participated in them firsthand – is a key tactic in progressive knowledge making.
Oral history projects like ours seek to correct the power imbalances in the practice of traditional history-making by allowing marginalized people and communities to regain the control and authorship of their own experiences.
Oral history archives also seek to fill significant deficits in traditional historical records due to classist, racist, sexist, and homophobic biases of the larger world order.
The current popularity and ubiquity of podcasts makes it easy for us to produce high-quality and compelling audio content and share it easily with our growing community.
Queer Athens will be streamable for free on a variety of podcasting platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher. These platforms allow interested people to discover our show, even if they’re not already aware of our project through our social media pages or community outreach efforts.
In addition to podcasting platforms, each of our episodes will be freely playable and permanently hosted on our own website. We feel strongly that it is important for the Queer Athens oral history archive to exist independently of any of any institution or streaming service.
With the recent introduction of marriage equality legislation by the current opposition party Syriza Progressive Alliance, and the launch of its national marriage equality campaign Loving unconditionally it’s what’s important, LGBTQ+ issues have recently gained an unprecedented prominence in Greek national consciousness.
We are using this watershed moment to reflect on the queer activism that has brought us here and to build a robust educational platform that can reach people inside and outside queer communities in Greece and abroad.
Queer Athens will address the endemic lack of cross-generational knowledge within queer communities by building a platform that fosters continuity of knowledge and shared culture amongst queer people across age, race, gender, political, geographic, and political lines. It will also serve as a key resource for potential allies who are seeking to self-educate about LGBTQ+ issues for the first time.
We will represent the queer community as robustly as possible, featuring the experiences of people from a broad range of ages, geographies, cultural contexts, races, educational and class backgrounds, sexual practices, lifestyles, and political orientations. As the makers of Queer Athens, our role is to honor the truths of our contributors, even – and especially – when there may be friction with our own perspectives. We commit to honoring a multiplicity of voices, and not granting prominence to one narrow, ‘correct’ party line over other ways of articulation.
We will work to actively decenter the names, faces, and voices of the founders in favor of a community-centric approach to culture making. Instead of working towards personal gain or profit, we are building Queer Athens to create a communal hub of queer connection and education. As a non-lucrative project, all funding will go to production and archiving costs and supporting the needs of our contributors. At every turn, we strive to use our project as a means to cross-promote and collaborate with queer Greek artists and culture-makers. We will maintain a fair and egalitarian system for the distribution of compensation and recognition.
Our podcast episodes and all related media will always be available to our community free of charge. We will continue to host our archives on our own website so that they will exist independently of private companies and institutions. We are committed to producing all content bilingually to support our international and multicultural audience, and we will provide full textual transcripts of all episodes for the benefit of audience members with impairments.