LGBT Bulgarian Gay Life
Gay Bulgaria LGBT, gay life in Bulgaria, including information about bars, what’s hot and what’s not, which bars to go to and insight into the culture.
Ruled for many years by the Soviet Union, Bulgaria is suddenly standing on its own feet ready to bring equality to all. For years, the homosexual community faced intolerance and even severe beatings if caught. As Bulgaria establishes newfound freedoms and joins the EU, new laws have been enacted to protect gay men and women.
The capital city, Sofia, is sadly one of many areas that are steadfast against accepting the homosexual crowd. Though it is a city where youth go for entertainment and nightlife, Sofia is filled with older men and women who lived through the oppressive rule and are now adjusting to true democracy. As Bulgaria has joined the EU this year, things will begin changing rapidly.
A new, prosperous economy has given rise to free time. This allows Bulgarians an opportunity to enjoy leisure activities, both homosexual and heterosexual. Activities enjoyed by others in Paris, New York, London, San Francisco, and other large cities – see a movie, enjoy a cold beer, casual conversation, or have a nice meal together can now occur in Sofia and other Bulgarian cities without recourse.
Though the gay crowd is not readily accepted yet, times are changing. The number of homosexual citizens who feel comfortable in revealing their true selves is increasing. Many of these gay men and women are happy about taking part in daily life. Many are starting to feel comfortable bonding together and sharing tales of the discrimination, violence, and estrangement they felt less than a decade earlier.
In those days, homosexuals were viewed by the majority as imperfect. Though many Bulgarian citizens and political figures have a hard time letting go of this discriminatory belief, a new law to protect gay men and women gained approval in 2002. It passed the parliament vote in late 2003 and was enacted as a law in 2004. Regardless, a high number of the homosexual population is convinced that the only reason the bill passed was due to the fact that Bulgaria is joining the EU and wants to be viewed by all as being as tolerant as any European country.
Meanwhile in Bulgaria and other Eastern European communities, many gay and lesbians remember the violence they endured. Therefore, they avoid public areas, including a small number of gay and lesbian establishments. For those looking for life partners, they face coming out of the closet or finding an alternate means to meeting other gay men and women. This is especially true of men who tend to be more hesitant in revealing their sexual nature.
Sofia is changing rapidly. In most cases, the gay community simply needs more members to succeed. As a result, some homosexuals are now finding that with the changing times comes the revelation that it is okay to come out of the closet.
A large percentage of gay porn is now being exported from Bulgaria. While there is the lure of easy cash, many feel that this is happening because homosexuals are feeling the need to rise above their oppressors by showing them that homosexuality is an acceptable way of life. Another argument is that Bulgaria is trying to prove, as it joins the EU, that they are just as accepting as other countries.
LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) hopes to assist Bulgaria as it faces these changing times. Information at the Gemini website shows that homosexuals are starting to flock to Sofia. The cities cost of living is tempting, but it is a large city that allows gays and lesbians to distance themselves from disapproving family members and friends. There is also a growing gay scene with a large number of gay establishments available to those willing to come out of the closet. This makes it easy for gay men and women to find life partners.
Spartacus, a fashionable disco located near the university, Parliament, and downtown area receive the most business. Spartacus has become a major hangout for many Sofia residents. Sofia offers other gay and lesbian establishments, but expect to find heterosexual people as well. Many of these establishments (Spartacus, Expose, Flamingo, etc.) offer fabulous entertainment. This is creating an even mix of gay and straight men and women to frequent these bars or clubs. Remember that even with the changing times, the mafia does still have their hand in some of Sofia’s businesses.
The Gemini-Bulgaria LGBT Organization’s website clearly states that its mission “is to create a better society for LGBT in Bulgaria.” LGBT hopes Bulgaria can continue to change so that all gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender people can feel safe and be accepted in the country. Gemini is currently working on programs with UNAIDS help to create educational and outreach programs.
BGO Gemini is also helping to form gay and lesbian groups within certain communities in order to end the isolation that many homosexual people feel. Given time, there is a promise that these programs can bring tolerance for all.