Although being LGBT is legal in Bulgaria, same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protection as heterosexual couples. Like most countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Bulgaria tends to be socially conservative when it comes to such issues as homosexuality. This might explain why Bulgarian LGBT people are often confronted with hate crimes or hate speech.
GLAS Foundation (Gays and Lesbians Accepted in Society) focuses on positive representation of the LGBT community, in society and media. They aim to change the hard to overcome attitude towards LGBT people, which is often created by stereotypes in the media.
With their new campaign, Act Now Against Hate Crime, GLAS wants to raise awareness about the fact that hate crimes and hate speech against LGBT people are not explicitly mentioned in the Bulgarian Criminal Code. In addition, the campaign will also focus on amending the anti-discrimination act to include ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ as a ground for discrimination.
With these amendments, GLAS hopes to create a safer environment and empower LGBT people in Bulgaria. Since almost 80% of hate crimes are not reported to the police, this law amendment will hopefully encourage LGBT people to report acts of discrimination.
- the Act Now Against Hate Crime campaign was launched;
- the www.wearetolerant.com website was launched;
- a round table discussion about hate crimes with the Dutch LGBT police force Roze in Blauw was held
- a campaign video called We Are Tolerant was created.