Impact Hub Athens is proud to promote another Proud Story of a young person in Athens and to ensure their story, experience and perspective is heard.
Demographics (Name, Age, Region)
Manta Marianna, 19 years old, grew up in Edessa and lives in Athens.
When did you discover your orientation? What was the trigger?
I discovered my orientation at the age of 17 during a school trip to a town outside of Barcelona. Even though a provincial town, everybody there lived as they wished without trying to pretend or to justify something about their sexual orientation.
Everything was transparent and there was no buzz about it. At home, I was trying to find arguments to support my sexual preferences, whereas there, a girl was inviting her girlfriend for lunch without having to pose any excuse. I remember entering a pastry shop and while looking around I spotted a screen with figures for wedding cakes: There were a couple of brides & a couple of grooms – pure visibility and all this at a province.
What do you think it is? Nature or experience? (born or acquired on the go)
Sexuality differs from person to person, both in terms of identity, but also in terms of its acquisition. Some of us are born and complete their lives with a bold sexual identity while others tend to have a more fluid sexuality.
Have you ever encountered any negative behaviours? Describe some incidents you remember.
Have you received positive comments / support for your gender expression? Describe some of the incidents you remember.
Only positive feedback, only loads of love and support. With regards to the way I dress, both family & friends accompany me to men’s clothing stores or sections clearly geared toward men… and we are having a great time!
Regarding my sexuality preferences, the response is even better: When I came out to my best friend, she researched and gave me a coming out guide in case I needed it, whereas my other peers text me when they watch a movie or read an article with queer characters. We discuss pride and the girls I am into. Last summer I volunteered at Athens Pride, at some point my mother called to tell me how much she would love to be there with me. Finally we attended together Thessaloniki’s pride festival.
I am totally out, I am myself and I receive lots of love.
How do you define the concept of “normal”? What’s normal for you?
The word ‘normal’ is a balladeer term. We have agreed, in social terms, that something natural and acceptable is normal. However, I believe the term in neutral, fluid and may describe something good, bad, advantageous, fair, unfair, etc.
Let us consider what was the “normal” position of a woman back in the 50s and what is normal now.
How do you respond to homophobic comments?
I only receive positive feedback and I continue to support my sexuality and my opinion on free expression.
How do you think the mindset can be changed?
Change of mindset can be achieved through visibility, access to information and education. We have to become familiar with sexual identities and expressions, As there are more than one. We don’t see it on a daily basis, we don’t know it and so we are hesitant.
Through visibility, the phenomenon of exoticization of LGBTQI+ people stops. It is necessary to change and improve the existing beliefs.