Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gay Pride Sofia

Gay pride Sofia was bigger than I expected. It was BH's second pride and my third. I went to MN pride back in 2009, which was huge and a blast, and then BH and I went to Seoul pride in 2010. While I was just an observer in Minnesota, in Bulgaria the parade is more of a demonstration march. We met up at Lover's Bridge (an apt place to start a pride parade) and marched through downtown Sofia ending up near Sofia University.
GLBT rights in Bulgaria are comparable to Korea. That's not a good thing. Gay sex is legal here, but public displays of affection are dangerous and the status of GLBT individuals is nowhere near the level in Western Europe. There are some public gay figures in Bulgaria, but I can think of only one at the moment. Azis is a Bulgarian chalga singer and 'married' to his partner. His music videos are ridiculous, and very homoerotic, and Perez Hilton has a crush on him:
Perez's links to Azis
Unfortunately, we did not meet up with Azis during the parade. There were a couple of politicians at the parade and one of the UN Human Rights Commissioners. A group of us got together and joined the parade. The weather was great, the atmosphere was lovely, and there was loud music playing the entire time. People on the street stared, some waved, and some looked openly disgusted. The only negative of the parade happened at 8pm. Apparently, as the crowd was dissipating, some 'hooligans' attacked a five of the marchers. Nobody was seriously injured, but it definitely reflects the homophobic and conservative elements of Bulgarian society. These attacks were not considered hate crimes because, under Bulgarian law, sexual minorities are not given equal protection as other minorities. Thank God none of us were hurt.

Hillary with our watermelon + mastika

That's pride!

Sophia with our new friend Whitney and a GLBT activist that lives in Greece

Love how they painted this monument

Playing flip-cup back at the apartment with our new friends

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