Many thousands turn out for Bulgaria’s 2022 Sofia Pride

Many thousands turned out on June 18 for the 15th annual Sofia Pride, the protest for equal rights for LGBTI people in Bulgaria.

The weather in Bulgaria’s capital city, alternating between rain and partly cloudiness, did not deter what organisers expected to be record attendance.

Sofia Pride describes itself as “an annual Pride march in support of equality between lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) and queer people in Bulgaria. Pride’s mission is to raise the visibility of LGBTI and queer communities, to support the public debate on their acceptance, and to show non-heterosexual and cis people in Bulgaria that they are not alone”.

This year’s Sofia Pride has the motto “Proud to be”.

The event opened with an afternoon live concert in front of the Soviet Army Monument in the centre of the capital city and was to be followed by an evening procession through the streets of Sofia.

At the concert, a 15-point manifesto of Sofia Pride 2022 was read out.

The manifesto said:

“We are proud…

1. That we are free.

  1. That we do not see the world only in black and white.
  2. That we want to remember.
  3. That we care for the family.
  4. That we want Bulgaria to move forward.
  5. That we do not respond to hatred with violence.
  6. That we know who we are.
  7. That we assert our rights.
  8. With our flag
  9. With our parents
  10. That we do not hide our love
  11. That we are against the war
  12. That we want our children to be happy
  13. That we are here
  14. That we are Bulgarians.”

The 2022 Sofia Pride also has a charitable cause, with parts of the funds raised to go to support Kyiv Pride, which cannot be held this year because of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Florence Robine, ambassador of France – the country currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU – told the crowd: ‘We are with you’
UK ambassador Rob Dixon, pictured, and US ambassador Herro Mustafa also addressed the event.

The crowd gave a warm welcome to the several foreign ambassadors who stood on stage in solidarity with Sofia Pride.

There was a video message from Kyiv Pride, including an appeal to stand up for Ukraine and for its LGBTQI+ community. The concert also featured a performance by Ukrainian singer Constantine.

Organisers placed a rainbow flag for those attending Sofia Pride to write messages of support.

There were three events in Sofia in protest against the Pride and “in defence of the traditional Bulgarian family”, while the week earlier saw the customary objection by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, and weeks ago, calls by ultra-nationalists in Sofia city council for Sofia Pride to be banned.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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