An exhibition entitled “Homosoc” is to show the realities of life for LGBTI people in Bulgaria during the country’s communist era.
The exhibition will be officially opened on September 30 at 7pm at the Port A Gallery, 5 Triaditsa Street, and will continue until October 13 inclusive. It will be open daily for visits from 11am to 7pm.
The organisers of the exhibition said that very little is known about homosexuality in Bulgaria and the regime’s attitude towards homosexual people and often the data is limited to rumours and unconfirmed gossip.
Over the past months, the GLAS (Gays and Lesbians Accepted in Society) Foundation, together with the European Cultural Foundation and the US embassy in Bulgaria, have conducted research on the subject based on a variety of sources. Historians, sociologists, students, curators and artists have taken part in the project to provide a summary of the period, the GLAS Foundation said.
The research was based on a variety of sources and focused on the 1950s and 1960s.
In an open letter made public on September 9, GLAS Foundation president Simeon Vassilev invited Kornelia Ninova, the leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, to attend the opening.
“Mrs. Ninova, as you say in your letter to Sofia Pride in 2018, I quote: ‘We are against violence and discrimination against everyone, including LGBTI people. They are free to choose how to live their lives’.
“I would be glad for you to attend the official opening of the exhibition so that you can witness that, both under the communist regime and now, homosexuals are not free to live their lives as they choose, and discrimination against them has been and is still strong today.”
We think it is right for the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), as the heir to the transformed Bulgarian Communist Party, to read this page of Bulgarian history as well. And it is not only negative. Along with the terror and the repression of the personal freedom and dignity, in 1968 Bulgaria decriminalises homosexuality, which puts it much ahead of the current liberal democracies Vassilev said.
“We hope that this example, as well as the whole exhibition, will inspire you to lead the BSP on the path of progress and to follow the European Socialist Party, which firmly stands on the side of LGBT people’s equality and personal freedom,” the letter said.