Author: Cveta Vrangova
It is not a crime being different. It is not, at least in Europe. Why don’t people in Bulgaria still like homosexuals and in general – different people, is still a question that remains without an answer. Bulgaria is among the first countries in Europe that adopted the law on protection against discrimination back in 2004. One of the main Bulgarian foundations Gemini is fighting the discrimination that exists despite the applicable law. The paradox in this issue is more than clear: in Bulgaria you could purchase a prostitute, walk naked on beaches and get drunk even if you are 13 years old or moreover, do it in school, but you cannot be homosexual. The Bulgarian society needs a strong reform that will give more rights to different sexual minorities. We cannot say the Bulgarian society is conservative or a puritan one. The country has seen it all – scandalous videos of naked women on the national television, praising drugs TV shows and even a male singer who wears women’s clothes and his songs are more than scandalous, but if in real life you are a homosexual, there is no calm life for you in Bulgaria. However, the problem is not only in this country. The problem with rejecting different people and the lack of tolerance is present all over the Balkans.
Perhaps if you read this, you would be shocked about a single fact – yes, in the Balkans you could commit crimes, take part in orgies and find pleasures as in Thailand, but having a different sexual orientation no one will really tolerate you. The latest example happened some time ago when in the town of Pazardjik a small group of people was holding a gay protest. If Berlin and Amsterdam are famous for giving freedom to homosexuals and allowing them to have their parades, protests and everything they need, in Bulgaria it is the opposite. The protest was against a local law which prohibits public demonstrations of sexual orientation and the like. During the protest several skinheads began to throw stones at people with different sexual orientation. The young homosexual people, who were simply fighting for their rights and obviously needed an attention in order to explain to the Balkans society what they want, were crashed. They were called “perverts”, “paedophiles” and “freaks”. (You may remember the similar outburst of anti-gay violence in Belgrade on 10 October 2010 ; also in pictures here.)
Homosexual communities in the Balkans aren’t a myth. There is an existence of such societies and their members are always careful, simply because no one will accept them as normal human beings. “The problem lies in the mentality. We are rejected, we are traced and we are called thousand names. When I reveal my sexuality, I never get a job. No one takes me serious, because I am a lesbian. Am I not a normal person?” asks the 30-year-old Mina, who was one of the participants of that protest. She cannot find work, nor could she find real friends. Mina whose last name we can’t publish tells us another story that is a cruel example of a brutal society. “My own parents threw me out of my house when I had told them I was a lesbian. My friends left me. I was on the street and no one would give me any job. If you are a lesbian or a gay and you insist on your rights, you will end up as a prostitute because there is no other way earning money”, says bitterly Mina who had a typical experience any homosexual in the country has had. “In Bulgaria gays are interesting only in TV shows, Big brother and in video-clips including violence”, the young woman admits and confesses she is going to emigrate in order to find a place where she will not be judged because of her sexual orientation. She is not the first who will do so. Many people in the Balkans are eager to leave their countries and to find new homes in countries that allow a normal existence for different people. In fact, they don’t like to be called differently. They truly believe in love and human commitment. They are ready to sacrifice and they dream that one day they wouldn’t be avoided and treated as criminals.
According to the authorities the freedom of their rights is guaranteed. The government that is working strictly to follow the EU directives is not to blame. Also, the authorities in Bulgaria are to provide the human rights and freedom, but let`s be honest, in the society everybody knows gays and lesbians are treated worse than murderers. There are even politicians that gain popularity due to their anti-homosexual speeches and initiatives. In fact, one of the biggest parties in the Bulgarian parliament – ATAKA is a party with a clear anti-homosexual politics. Its leader Volen Siderov is often heard to call his opponents “fags”. There is no sense in hiding the truth: in Bulgarian Parliament there are still people with violent behavior towards homosexuals. It is an issue that doesn’t depend on the government. It depends on the mentality. Who is to blame? The communist regimes in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia were clearly closed systems where the word “different” was a synonym of “guilty”. Generations after generations in Bulgaria were taught not to accept homosexuals and different individuals. In the communist regime homosexuals were sent to jails; the same way they were treated under Stalin’s regime. Twenty years after the fall of communism and the Balkans’ struggle to find the democracy they deserve, there is still an issue with accepting other people. Generally, no matter the progress in these countries, when it comes to certain classes, there is discrimination. The lessons of the history perhaps will teach the next generation not to judge people with different sexual orientation, but in this life, at this very moment, we can’t be silent while there is a true discrimination and a serious threat to homosexuals. According to the latest research findings there are few groups that Bulgarians don’t really accept – ethnic minorities, homosexuals, the disabled and the poor, too. The problem doesn’t really exist, simply because Bulgarians don’t talk about it. They avoid it, as well as all the governments in this country have so far. Yet, there is still a statement – a dangerous one: discrimination encourages irresponsible behavior. If we shut our eyes to a problem, does the problem really exist? Alas, that is a question without an answer.
This is one of the winning articles of the Mladiinfo Article Writing Contest. The content of the articles does not necessarily represent the view or the position of Mladiinfo.