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Costas Taktsis
(1927 - 1988) Greece

Costas Taktsis



Costas Taktsis is one of the few narrative writers to incorporate homosexuality in his prose. His novel The Third Wedding depicts the harsh realities of life experienced by Greece's lower classes before, during, and after World War II. Taktsis's unromantic prose, written in a colloquial idiom, is reminiscent of the Naturalism of Zola and the Verismo of Verga.

Born in Tessaloniki, but growing up in Athens, he led an adolescent existence as much disrupted by family circumstances, as by the German occupation of Greece and the Greek civil war which followed. The circumstances of his early life are very shadowy, although his autobiography, The First Steps (1989), does give an amusing account of the variety of sexual possibilities open to a schoolboy in a period of great social upheaval.

Between 1954 and 1964 he left Greece, moving between Western Europe, Africa, the US and Australia and keeping himself by methods that can only be guessed at. After the fall of the Colonels' dictatorship in 1974, he went on to make frequent contributions in the media, both in the press and on the air, on issues of Greek society and culture.

He made no secret of his homosexuality but declined to take part in the gay liberation movement, ostensibly because he believed that oppression of homosexuals could only be solved as part of a wider social liberation. Nonetheless, some of his journalistic contributions of the 1980s were very outspoken on the subject, such that rapidly Taktsis and homosexuality became virtually synonymous in the public mind.

What was perhaps less widely known was that for many years he had also been practicing as a transvestite prostitute, a profession that seems to have led eventually to his death, since he was probably murdered by a client.


Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History, from WWII to Present Day, Routledge, London, 2001

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