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Gay Cyprus: what is it like attending the Cyprus Pride parade in Nicosia?

Stefan Arestis
Gay Cyprus: what is it like attending the Cyprus Pride parade in Nicosia?

“You say poushti like it's a bad thing”

Cyprus Pride in Nicosia parade
One of the most poignant signs at Cyprus Pride

…so said one of the many banners at the Cyprus Gay Pride parade in Nicosia.

In everyday Greek, “pousti” (or “poushti” when you say it with a Cypriot-Greek accent) means “poof” or “fag”, and is usually used in a derogative way. For Stefan growing up in a Greek-Cypriot society across London and Cyprus, relatives would use it in a sort of “act like a man” type of way, like “don't be a pousti!”

Let's just say that Greek society growing up wasn't one of the most gay friendly in the world!

Fast forward to today and oh my god look how far the country has evolved! Cyprus now not only has a sprinkling of LGBTQ-friendly laws in place, but it also has a gay pride parade taking place every year since 2014, which is supported by the government, with thousands of people.

We love attending the Cyprus Pride in Nicosia!

LGBTQ Rights in Cyprus

Cyprus traditionally has been a very socially conservative society, dominated by the Greek Orthodox Church, which frequently expresses anti-LGBTQ comments. Despite this, LGBTQ rights in Cyprus continue to evolve:

  • 1998: Homosexuality legalized in the South (it was legalized in the Northern occupied side in 2014)
  • 2002: The age of sexual consent equalized to 17 years old
  • 2004: Cyprus joins the EU and introduces anti-discrimination laws, but only in employment
  • 2011: The “Accept-LGBT Cyprus” NGO is established
  • 2013: General anti-discrimination laws introduced (like hate speech)
  • 2014: First Cyprus Pride held in Nicosia
  • 2014: Northern occupied Cyprus legalized homosexuality
  • 2015: Civil union laws introduced for same-sex couples
  • 2022: LGBTQ sex education to be taught in schools
  • 2023: Conversion therapy banned!
Gay Cyprus LGBTQ laws evolving


Moving forward:

  • Transgender rights: a bill allowing transgender people to change their legal sex is currently being drafted, with the support of not only the President but also the Justice Minister.
  • Society opinion: a survey carried out by Accept-LGBT Cyprus in February 2014  found that 53.3% of Cypriot citizens thought that civil unions should be made legal.
  • Gay marriage: gay marriage laws are still not in place in Cyprus
  • Gay adoption: not possible for gay couples, but possible for single persons.
  • Army ban: the ban on LGBTQ people serving openly in the Cypriot army has been lifted, but being out in the army is still seen as a massive taboo.
Nomadic Boys rainbow flag at Cyprus Pride in Nicosia
Proudly flying the flag in support of our Cypriot LGBTQ family

Cyprus Pride: a history

Let's just put things into perspective here. Cyprus Pride is never going to rival the Pride of Madrid, New York, or Sāo Paulo, which attracts several million people. We're talking about a tiny country with a population of around 1 million people. So having several thousand people turn up yearly to march in the Cyprus Pride is a big deal and should be celebrated!

The first Cyprus Pride in 2014 was organized by the excellent Accept LGBT Cyprus NGO, the only officially registered organization in Cyprus dealing with LGBTQ rights. They only expected a few hundred people to turn up, but had a turnout of almost 5,000, with massive support from former President – George Vasiliou. They also had international pop star Anna Vissi perform and march in the parade (she is huge in Cyprus, nicknamed “the Greek Madonna“).

Since 2014, Cyprus Pride has gone from strength to strength. It continues to take place every year, with support from both the government and Cypriot society.

It is with immense pride that we attend Cyprus Pride every year!


Our gay Pride in Cyprus

We came along dolled up in full rainbow paraphernalia – flags, wristbands, sunglasses, and more.

The schedule for each Cyprus Pride follows a similar structure each year. It takes place in the Municipal Gardens of Nicosia, which is a large green space area. It starts at 3 pm with activities for children, then the parade starts around 5:30 pm. Before the parade begins, Cypriot politicians give speeches in support of the LGBTQ community, and local Cypriot celebrities perform. This year we had Eurovision star, Eleni Foureira, who performed her huge hit song, “Fuego”.

The Parade took us around the main streets of central Nicosia, then back to the Municipal Garden where there were more performances along with live music. This was our favorite part. We loved the fun, chilled party atmosphere in the park, with everyone getting on as one big happy LGBTQ family:


As we said, don't come to the Cyprus Pride expecting huge parades like the ones you see at the Fierte gay pride of Montreal, or the gay pride of Puerto Vallarta. But do come here knowing you are supporting our small LGBTQ community, which has made huge leaps in Cypriot society and continues to do so.

When is Cyprus Pride 2023?

The Cyprus Pride 2024 parade will take place on Saturday 1st June 2024.

The Pride Festival itself will start on 17 May 2024, on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, and will conclude on 1 June 2024 with the big parade..

There are in fact two that take place:

1. Northern part of Nicosia: takes place on the Turkish-occupied side of Nicosia in May to coincide with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHTB).

2. Southern part of Nicosia: takes place in June on the Greek-Cypriot side of Nicosia at the Municipal Garden.

Both events are beautifully organized by “Accept-LGBT Cyprus”, which doesn't discriminate between Turk or Greek and incorporates both in its rainbow logo. For the most up-to-date information, check out the Accept website and the Accept Facebook page.

Happy travels are safe travels

We recommend you always take out reputable travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft, or a cancellation? Many gay travelers forget about it and regret it when something happens. Better to pay a small price and have peace of mind and not worry.

For more inspiration:

Find out what it's like experiencing gay pride in Cyprus
Stefan Arestis

Hey everyone, I'm Stefan, the curly-haired Greek flavor behind the gay travel blog Nomadic Boys. Together with my other half, I have explored more than 90 countries across 5 continents. What I love most about traveling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends, learning new cultures. I've written about LGBTQ travel in numerous online publications such as Gaycation Magazine, Gaycities, Gay Times and Pink News as well as for other non-gay-specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Check my full bio here.


Thursday 25th of February 2021

hey im wondering if there will be a parade now with covid-19 and where do you guys announce the date :)

Stefan Arestis

Friday 26th of February 2021

We hope so, but we're not getting our hopes up yet :(

olamilekan olanrewaju

Sunday 16th of February 2020

So I am planning to come study in Cyprus and I would love to meet new gay friends.

Stefan Arestis

Sunday 23rd of February 2020

Awesome :)

Chris Monks

Friday 7th of February 2020

I am visiting Cyprus from the 13th til 20th May and hope to visit the Pride but on all the sites I look at it says all the gay venues are closed down, last time I was in Cyprus was 87 when I was in the army and I wanted to come back and enjoy such an amazing culture while at the same time try and connect with the gay side

Stefan Arestis

Saturday 8th of February 2020

Yeah - they do close down a lot, but reopen somewhere else thankfully!

Ryan Biddulph

Friday 8th of June 2018

I was in Nicosia in June of 2016 guys. Must have missed it. Cyprus is a lovely country and I spent a good month in Nicosia during a house sit. Fab Greek food and hotter than Hades too. I recall not seeing a single cloud all month. Desert climate!

Nomadic boys

Friday 8th of June 2018

Love Cyprus :)