Introducing Greek in the City We’re proud to welcome Astoria born and bred Chris Semertsides to our family of columnists. His regular column called “Greek in the City” will cover the life and experiences of a New York City Greek-inspired life, as seen through the eyes of Chris. He Tweets regularly here— feel free to follow and reach out to him.
My name is Chris Semertsides. I was born and raised in Astoria, NY where my father owned an auto repair shop and my mother a hair salon. I was blessed because I never needed anything— except a struggle to be accepted.
Growing up Greek in Astoria for me was a constant struggle to fit in. Every day there was pressure from my family to be a “man”, or school bullies teasing me because I was an easy target. It was not easy for my parents; or for me. After many failed attempts at karate, soccer, Greek social clubs— even gymnastics, my father finally let me pursue singing. I was 13 years old when I first stepped into a recording studio with my father by my side.
He was so proud of my music and the things I was able to create. I moved between recording albums (3), organizing events, and going to school. When I was being creative I felt like I was being a good son. The truth is that I could never be the son that my parents imagined me to be. Years passed before I would officially come out of the closet at the age of 21, and by the time I was 23 my father passed away.
My father’s death was not expected. He died on father’s day June 17th, which coincidently is also my mother’s birthday. His death marked the first of many events that would lead me to where I am today. I wear many hats and my family is a big part of my life.
This column is about life through my perspective as a Gay Greek American. The past 5 years have had many ups and downs. I’ve learned that no matter what you’re going through, you need to take something from it, and that’s what I’ve tried to do. That’s what I’ll leave you with this week. A short introduction of who I am, and what you can expect to read from me.
Me Agapi, Chris