On 9 February, two brides married in a traditional Cypriot wedding. Aphrodite and Tahini Molasses entered to Kozan Marsi / Patinada Kozan dressed in beautiful white gowns to the sound of their cheering guests.
Of course, it was not an official wedding. The drag show in East London bar ‘The Glory’ was organised by the drag ‘brides’ and the LGBTQ+ Cypriot Diaspora group. ‘Drag’ is an art form in which a person dresses up to exaggerate a particular gender, usually a different gender to their own.
It was a powerful evening filled with Cypriot traditions and celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) love. It was also the first ever Cypriot-only drag performance in London, a historical moment incorporating elements of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot culture, in all of its similarities and differences.
In the wake of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, all profits from the evening – over £600 – went to charities supporting the relief effort – Ahbap and White Helmets.
Tahini and Aphrodite were matchmakers that night, doing proxenia / dünürcülük for two male audience members called onto stage. There was no messing about. Koumbaro / Gumbare and drag king Mr Mezze shaved one groom, while drag performer Yas Necati performed the zosimo / zomata with a long long long red scarf / gelin kuşağı. Then, Koumbara / Gumbare and drag queen Niki Tou Laou crowned the ‘happy’ couple with the stefanomata to Agapisa Tin Pou Karkias.
Just (un)like a couple brought together through proxenia/ dünürcülük, they were very pleased with their pairing!
The night also featured powerful and humorous acts celebrating and exploring Cypriot culture. Aphrodite performed a belly dance to Yanayim Yanayim and Anaveis Foties. Tahini sang Feslikan / Psintri Vasilitzia Mou in both Turkish and Greek. Mr Mezze channelled the changing role of traditional Cypriot men. Yas sang Vazgeçemem, a love song by Tarkan about the cats of Cyprus. Niki ‘lip synced’ to Eglimata. The night ended with the audience joining the performers on stage to dance to Tillirkotissa / Dillirga.
The evening was about creating space in Cypriot culture and traditions for LGBTQ+ people. The show sold out in under 24 hours, and again shortly after tickets went on sale for a second night. The energy of the audience was exhilarating with many saying how ‘seen’ and ‘proud’ they felt. Many also brought their parents along, bonding over their culture and identities in a heartwarming night.
Atop the entrance, there was a sign that read ‘Drag for Cooperation – Ντράγκ για Συνεργασμóς – Drag dayanışma evi.’
This won’t be the last LGBTQ+ Cypriot drag show! Keep your eyes out for more.

By Gabby Koumis

To contact the LGBTQ+ Cypriot Diaspora and connect with the community:
Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @lgbtq_cypriot_diaspora
Facebook: LGBTQ+ UK Cypriots

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