Yiannis Boutaris, Thessaloniki’s “maverick” mayor, participated in a semi-nude shooting with Adore lifestyle magazine for a campaign against AIDS. Boutaris, 71, posed along with 31 other Greek celebrities to defend gay rights and to raise HIV awareness for World AIDS Day (December 1). According to The Times Of Change, this was the second time Boutaris took part in a shooting like this for Adore, the magazine distributed with Macedonia Newspaper, but this was the first time the photos had been published.
“Although he does not see it happening in his generation, Boutaris has thrown his weight on helping Thessaloniki become an ‘open city.’ “
Although he does not see it happening in his generation, Boutaris has thrown his weight on helping Thessaloniki become an “open city” and has strongly supported the Thessaloniki Pride festival since it began in 2012. Boutaris hopes that welcoming open expression of orientation will attract up to 50,000 people from the Balkans, Middle East and elsewhere for the annual Pride festival. Currently, the city only attracts about 2,000- 3,000 visitors for the event.
This is one way the mayor hopes to fulfill the pledge he made when he took office in 2011, “to revive Thessaloniki’s historic role as a cosmopolitan and open Balkan hub, which could increase business and tourism,” writes Paris Ayiomamitis for The Press Project. According to Ioannou Zikakou from Greek Reporter, Boutaris “is an unconventional figure known for his direct approach to controversial political and social issues.”
Boutaris has been nominated for World Mayor 2014— an award given every two years to a mayor “who has made outstanding contributions to his/her community and has developed a vision for urban living and working that is relevant to towns and cities across the world.”