Различните – The LGBT+ community in Bulgaria

One would think that in the 21st Century there’s no more stigma and oppression, that everyone is free to be their most authentic self and yet in countries like Bulgaria being different is frowned upon….

Bulgarians like to say they’re tolerant…

But then again.. what does being tolerant mean?! 

78% of Bulgarians do not support marriage equality. According to a sociological survey conducted by GLAS Foundation – a non-government organisation that supports LGBTI people in Bulgaria, 48% of people would help a lesbian couple attacked on the street, 38% would help a gay couple in the same situation and 39% would help a trans person, all this in comparison to 68% if the couple was heterosexual. In a different situation where a person is attacked on the street 57% of people would help. This number goes down to 47% if the person is identified as a lesbian; to 42% if the person is identified as gay and down to 33% if the person is identified as trans. This survey highlights not only the level of apathy towards the members of the LGBT+ community in Bulgaria but also the lack of utter humanity and willingness to help a person in a need.

Reading those statistics and living in the UK, it greatly pains me to know how oppressed the LGBT+ community in Bulgaria is. There is no political support for them, as all major political parties are corrupt, far-right, traditionalist with ageing believes and a thirst for power and money. There’s no hate crime laws to protect the LGBT+ community and to provide justice in events of violence. Even the police is homophobic, and they’re meant to be protecting every person in the nation.

The saddest thing is that the population in it’s majority believes that they’re tolerant..a word which for me has no meaning in the context of basic human rights.

What does being tolerant to a minority mean?

In our core we’re all human no matter our differences, be it sexuality, religion, colour etc.

It deeply pains me because I know that there are young people, who are afraid to be their most authentic self, who maybe don’t quite understand their most authentic self yet. Young people whose mental health is jeopardised because a nation can’t accept that different doesn’t mean bad.

20190327_201014

FFS, I was one of the different ones, but I was privileged enough to not be a part of a minority group in Bulgaria.

I sometimes don’t have the words to describe how sad it makes me feel hearing about people being attacked in broad daylight in the capital city – Sofia for just looking gay..

I don’t have words to describe how sad it makes me hearing that here, in the UK, people are arguing against having LGBT+ education in schools on the basis of it NOT being ok to be gay… It really hits close to home..

I don’t have words to describe how sad it makes me hearing people in Bulgaria describe being LGBT+ as an illness and something that needs to be cured in order for one to be a “normal” member of society.

I don’t have words to describe how sad it makes me to hear that the efforts different non-government organisations make to raise awareness about and to de-demonise the LGBT+ community in the eyes of the nation are met with negative and aggressive outburst, vandalism and media ignorance. The image on the right is an example of the aforementioned negative reaction a Billboard in a big city in Bulgaria received. The images on the left have a tittle translated: “There’s nothing scary, it’s just LOVE”

It pains me deeply that in the 21st century we still have labels and judge people based on their background. Because race, sexuality, religion is only that…BACKGROUND. As humans, who always look to point out that we’re the dominant species on the Planet, we need to learn to base our judgement on whether one is kind or a prick.

How is that as the dominant species on the planet all we seem to do is destroy, hate and divide?! 

It pains me deeply….

***

There is some light in the tunnel though…

deep

deep

deep inside the tunnel.

Organisations like GLAS foundation, Bulgarian Fund For Women and others give me hope and make me unbelievably proud and happy to know that there are indeed people willing to fight the stigma, support the most marginalised in society and raise awareness about issues.

***

I’m happy I finally gathered the courage and found the right words to talk a bit about the LGBT+ issues in Bulgaria that have been bothering me (more like stabbing me in the heart with a dagger) for quite some time now.

This post intends to shed some light and maybe inspire people to appreciate the progress some countries have made in their liberation movements, and to maybe help fight against the stigma and oppression in others like Bulgaria.

Much love,

Dan xx

Ние сме ТОЛЕРАНТНИ!

Въобще не ни е страх от странните, различните и не-нормалните хора!

If you’d like to read a bit more about the LGBT+ rights issues in Bulgaria, click here.

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