Sofia Pride Parade 2017: Glimmers of hope in all the hatred

Written by on June 9, 2017 in Perspectives - Comments Off on Sofia Pride Parade 2017: Glimmers of hope in all the hatred

The 10th Sofia Pride Parade, which will take place tomorrow, has a lot of support from abroad, but hardly any from within Bulgaria. Once the participants are on site at the Monument of the Soviet Army, a large group of ambassadors and chargés d’ affairs from the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, Germany and several European countries will show their solidarity.

Those representatives of all of those countries put so much importance into pledging support because they know hardly anyone within Bulgaria does. They know this country is generally intolerant towards homosexuals and they know their support means a lot, in a situation like this one.

In all the hatred, even from within Bulgaria’s government (the government parties Ataka and VMRO have made scandalous statements on the Sofia Pride Parade, and hardly anyone has condemned them), there are a few tiny glimmers of hope:

> Of course NGOs, such as the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee and the global organisation All Out, which demanded security for the participants of the Sofia Pride Parade and a participation of Sofia’s Mayor, Yordanka Fandakona, actively support the LGBT community. All Out’s petition can be signed here.

> Tonight, the National Palace of Culture in the heart of Sofia will be illuminated in the colours of the rainbow, in a symbolic display of support for the LGBT community in Bulgaria.

> Some twenty companies from Bulgaria and abroad do support the Sofia Pride Parade, among them the restaurant chain Skaptobara. They even offer a special burger for the event, called “Sexual Burger”. Well, that sounds like an appropriate burger for both homosexual and heterosexual burger enthusiasts. Also Absolute Vodka supports the Pride Parade. Cheers!

Municipal Council Martha Georgieva

> It might be hard to believe, but true: There is actually a municipal counselor in Sofia who supports the LGBT community and the Sofia Pride Parade. Martha Georgieva said, the parade was a “peaceful and positive way” of gaining ground in the Bulgarian society, that the freedom to fight for civil rights was unconditional and irrevocable and that Mayor Fadakova should take part in the parade, in order to ensure safety.

So, there is some support, but all in all the intolerance and ignorance shown in Bulgaria, including among politicians, is simply scandalous.

In the meantime, the organisation of the Sofia Pride Parade will be improved this time. Last year, hardly anything happened during the first hour, the music coming through those loudspeakers was so loud that it scared people away, rather than giving the the opportunity to talk, the speeches were too long and the translator thought he was more important than the speakers whom he translated for.

This time, things will be streamlined. Everything will happen in a more rapid way, the ambassadors will have one common declaration, which will be read to the participants in Bulgarian. That way, the Sofia Pride march will commence earlier.

Security will be an important aspect, since Nazi groups intend to disrupt the parade, and Sofia Municipality failed to forbid their display of hate. It will be up to the police to make sure the situation does not escalate.

 

 

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com