Homosexual discrimination still an issue in Bulgaria

Regenbogenparade 2007 by Kadluba@flickr

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.

The rainbow flag of the Inca by 00dann@flickr

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.

8 thoughts on “Homosexual discrimination still an issue in Bulgaria

  1. Well, this surely is very touching and emotional statement which is far from being true and objective. This is a very serious claim – homosexual discrimination in Bulgaria. Of course, people are being sensitive about their sexuality and the way they accept the world. There are racists, homosexual descriminators, common haters etc- yes, some of them might be in parliament, some might be in Bulgaria, but this is happening everywhere. In every country, on the Balkans or not, there will be all kinds of people and not all of them will be equally accepted. So don't be too harsh on Bulgarians.

    P.S. It's crisis, you know…lot's of people can't find a job. Besides, why would you need to reveal your sexuality on a job interview? I have never been asked such thing on an interview. If you're dressed proper for the job, have the right education and qualification and you're smart, that's about it.

    1. Hi Diana, i wish you were right. You can not change who you are just for the job interview and walking out of it be yourself again. they dont ask,they see! and they hate you!! I did fight with it, got sick of it and left. Why people hate so much homosexuals???!!!! and dont say they do not because i can show you how brutal they could be. I`m seeking political asylum in USA. I need materials about other violence towards homosexuals. Please help. Im going to use that in court.

  2. Dear Mr. or Mrs. Vrangova,
    I don't know what makes you say such strong words, but it is absolutely true that you are not at least aware what the situation in Bulgaria really is.I just hope you at least belong to one of these "discriminated" groups and that you speak from the first hand experience. Otherwise, it is just a regular case of an amateur, anti logic conclusion drawn from a single situation. It is the same as saying that all blue-eyed people are bad because one of them is bad. So, please, be more particular in your reports. Everything other is a speculation.
    And really – homosexual orientation does not enjoy very positive public opinion, but that doesn't mean those people are discriminated. And Diana is right – what does sexual orientation have to do with a job interview? And what rights have been taken from homosexuals?
    By the way – politic party ATAKA is not one of the largest parties in Bulgaria – it has only 20 of 240 representatives in the parliament. So, please, again, be exact in your words. Anti-homosexual speeches also can be heard in other European countries, so do not make it a "Balkan syndrome".

  3. This article is veeeery exagerrated. For sure there are some issues with tollerance, but the situation is far from the described. It's not the 9-th circle of Gay-hell here. I've been to several other countries around Europe, and from what I've seen the society there showed about the same or less tollerance to such things than in Bulgaria. Even if there are problems like this political party (who is more racist, than sex-discriminating), people here are not some rednecks who go around with torches and pitchforks, and the society is not really conservative when it comes to such things.

    Though we have another typical feature – constantly complaining of our own country and telling everyone how terrible it is… well, face it – it's not that bad!

  4. Well, I also live in Bulgaria. I'm not homosexual, but almost all my friends are. The problem is in homosexuals in Bulgaria. They are still afraid, they first think they are different and show it to everyone with clothes, speech and manners. I have friends homosexuals in London, but they are confident, know who they are and know their rights. You'll say that the reason is the country they're living, but you can't compare Great Britain and small Bulgaria (that was 50 years a communist country). More important is that things are changing very fast. All my gay friends have job. One is writer, one is journalist, one is PR agent, and one is an insurance broker …….. Every week we go to parties and, believe me, people like them more, because they’re gay.  Of course there are jerks that call names, but go to an English high school – do you think children don’t call names each other? I think that Yonka is absolutely right. This is an exaggeration and show that the person that wrote it is not aware of the real situation or is just affected from a simple situation.
    Things are not so bad as everyone 'want'.

Leave a Reply