The Rich Lesbian History of Skala Eressou

The rich lesbian history of the island of Lesbos dates to ancient times, when the famous lesbian poet Sappho was born in Eresos. Her presence still lingers in the air, the sea, and the statues that watch over the Aegean Sea in Skala.

In the first half of the 20th century, Italian lesbian poet, writer and feminist Lina Poletti sailed to Lesbos with a group of lesbians, embarking on a journey of self-discovery. Their experiences, detailed in Poletti’s diaries, are beautifully chronicled by Shelby Wynn Schwartz in her book “After Sappho.”

Fast forward to the 1970s, when lesbians from around the world began visiting Skala Eresou, creating a vibrant community that not only engaged respectfully with locals but also boosted the local economy. Many of these lesbians have now made Skala their permanent home.

Photographer, writer, filmmaker and proud “double lesbian” (a lesbian from Lesbos) Tzeli Hadjidimitriou is one of the members of the Skala Eresou lesbian community and an active member of EL*C.Tzeli has documented the lesbian history of Skala Eresou in her documentary film Lesvia, which chronicles 40+ years of love, community, conflict, and what it means to feel accepted.

Lesvia is currently making the rounds on the festival circuit. Here’s where you can see it next:

  • June 19, 20 MakeDox, Skopje
  • June 19-29 – Frameline, San Francisco
  • June 23 EuroPride, Thessaloniki
  • June 24-30 – Zinegoak Film Festival, Bilbao
  • June 27-30 – Fairy Tales Presentation Society, Calgary
  • Aug 1-5 – Gaze LGBTQIA Film Festival, Dublin
  • August 1-8 – Lemesos International Documentary Festival, Lismassol
  • Aug 30 – Sep 6 Queer Film Festival, Utrecht
  • Sep 11-22 – Vancouver Queer Film Festival
  • Sep 20-22 – Some Prefer Cake Film Festival, Bologna
  • Sep 20-28 – Queer Lisboa: Lisbon Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
  • Sep 25 – Oct 12 – Vues d’en face: Grenoble International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Grenoble
  • Oct 22-27 Pornfilmfestival, Berlin
  • Oct 24 – Nov 3 – Windsor International Film Festival, Ontario

More festivals and dates are announced as they are confirmed – follow Lesvia on Facebook and Instagram to find out more.

If you’re dreaming of visiting the Skala Eresou, don’t miss these fantastic festivals organized by EL*C member organizations:

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