- Surface and Reality
- Bulgaria Gay Personals, Bulgaria Gay Dating Site, Bulgaria Gay Singles | Free Online Dating
- Gay Bulgaria
- 1. Gays and lesbians are told not to demonstrate or discuss their homosexuality.
To be different now does not carry the historic threat of exile or extermination or torture but coming out today still positions one as less than normal and deserving a shove or an insult. There are plenty of dull-wits with big-fists left over from recent history that are directed against unusual people, including gypsies as well as gays. From their web site:. The vision is a society where diversity is welcome. These groups are non-formal and not official branches of the organization.
Currently there is no powerful political lobby in the country which could initiate and facilitate a change in the law towards the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships. Driving in rural Bulgaria compares well to Romania.
The main roads are paved and reasonably good for driving. Cargo trucks haul goods across and out of the country, slowed occasionally by a herd of goats crossing the roads or a horse cart hauling pumpkins from the field. A common sight along the way is a decrepit Lada car huffing along at 30 MPH. We rented a car and drove through the heart of Bulgaria with no serious problems other than having to stop and translate some roads signs—Bulgaria uses the Cyrillic alphabet, similar to Russia.
Romania uses the familiar Latin alphabet so we had no directional problems. Throughout the countryside most farmers ride around in horse carts and hand pick their potato crops and cut their hay with a scythe. Village farm houses are neat but worn like their inhabitants. Another question about the future concerns the cheap manual labor costs of these local folks and how these might interface with the expensive high tech farming costs in the West? The roadsides present a continual carnival of people and images.
On several main roads heading out of town, pretending to be hitch-hikers, numerous young women-of-the-night try to flag down willing drivers. One afternoon we came across a group of young men towing a car in a most unusual way. The car had been burned out and the hulk was upside down and hitched to a horse. They were trying to drag it on its roof to town.
Surface and Reality
The horse, whose ribs I could see, did not look amused! As well, so few tourists drive though many of the small remote villages here that we and our shiny new rental car sometimes became an attraction for the natives as we stopped to buy cheese or bread or pate for lunch at a small corner grocery.
Dense forests cover the central mountains offering sweeping views and tight switchback roads that lead out to verdant fertile plains sprouting vegetables and grasses. The central Sredna Gora mountains offer stunning views from the high top Shipka Pass where the monumental war memorial on Mount Stoletov is situated.
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To access the site we climbed up the at least steps in a luminous late-afternoon fog that enshrouded the mountain. The ascent felt like entering a mythic Wagnerian set passing carved stone soldier figures frozen in battle and topped with a muscular granite tower guarded by a huge bronze lion.
The historical myth here is enhanced by knowing that Alexander the Great, that great ruthless hero, also fought his way up the hill in BC with his boyfriend not far behind. Other appealing cities such as Veliko-Turnovo are nestled in the lower hills with its tile-roofed antique wooden houses and Internet cafes such as the bizarre I-Net that sported fantastic styrofoam monsters and machines sculpted onto the ceilings.
The users in these dens are mostly young guys smoking and playing violent video games online. Across the street is a neon-lighted casino—also filled with cigarette smoke. Casinos are everywhere in Bulgaria with the Bingo parlors attracting the most gamers. It is a true wonder that Bulgaria kept any consistent identity through countless occupations by the Greeks, Romans, Turks, Ottomans, Austo-Hungarians, Nazis, and communists. Now finally there is a self-chosen confederacy with free Europe in the future European Union. One morning in Veliko we had a good laugh as we ate breakfast in our communist-designed hotel it looked like a vertical harmonica.
On one side of us a group of American Christian missionaries buoyant and scrubbed were praying over their meager breakfasts followed by post breakfast prayers. On the other side of us was a young couple who had enjoyed the hotel for other purposes than shelter. She looked a bit ruffled in her high black boots, low cut dress and cheap hair dye—and he looked satisfied. And then there was us, two queers boys from liberal Laguna Beach, in between.
Truly an odd collection of travelers viewing the sites and sounds of modern and ancient Bulgaria.
As in every town and city there are the countless anonymous ugly communist-style apartment blocks where many people live in two, three or four room flats. The blocks range in height from two to twenty stories and the only interesting feature is the laundry that hangs from each balcony. Bulgaria has numerous other attractive cities such as Varna and Nessibar on the Black Sea.
Varna is very appealing resort city with tree-lined avenues and many umbrella-covered cafes. The magnificent cathedral on the central square is surrounded by women selling their delicately crocheted tablecloths and sweaters. The famous 4th century BC Chalcolithic Necropolis cemetery was found near Varna in and contained exquisite gold carvings said to be the oldest in the world.
In virtually every city in Bulgaria the famous designer shops are open for business. However, the most popular stores by far are the ones selling mobile phones. The younger generation is addicted to them. Every town and city we visited was linked to a floating satellite somewhere and legions of young and middle age shoppers, students, mothers-with-strollers and double-breasted businessmen were all connected and having one-sided conversations that once were a sign of schizophrenia.
This charming city also is full of ancient roman ruins and one of them, a stunning amphitheatre overlooking the city, is still used for musical and dramatic presentations.
What little discretionary money the younger generation has seems to be spent on nice clothes and jewelry. Guys especially like heavy gold and silver neck chains. Tourist life is cheap here. The appetizer was baked plums wrapped in bacon—heavenly. Plovdiv is more casual than Sofia with numerous pedestrian streets, renovated old European facades, and a picturesque center packed with cafes, fast-food shops, more ruins, trendy brand-name shops and hawkers selling all kinds of touristy kitsch or paperback books or ice cream or religious icons.
During the warm season there are nightly open-air concerts, sometimes two or three. Life, at least the evening life, appears cheerful and bright and easy. Of course on the fringes, as always, gypsy beggars can be seen looking for small change and indigents fade into the night shadows with their bags of pickings. Sofia is the core city of Bulgaria. Speaking of which, we had another good laugh at a huge billboard ad for KFC chicken downtown. The blow-up image depicts several young women surrounding a handsome man seated and holding a bucket of fried chicken in his lap.
Surely the ad designer—gay or straight—knew what he was doing. Several kilometers outside the center is the National History Museum housed in an enormous former communist mansion. Once in a while the socialists built well and this museum is an impressive mix of horizontal and vertical lines fashioned from hardwoods and cement; it would not displease Frank Lloyd Wright. Artifacts here date to the seventh millennia BC. It reeks of age and muscular beauty having been restored in recent years. The central golden chandelier hangs from a high delicately painted dome.
There is a feeling of dark yet colorful warmth to the interior. As non-Jewish visitors we looked quite fabulous in our white yarmulkes. In the foyer of the synagogue we purchased a stamped post card with a photo of the late deputy parliament speaker Dimitar Peshev who first alerted the Romanian leaders of the impending deportation of Jews in and whose action forced King Boris to protect most, not all Romanian Jews against the Nazi orders.
We also bought a similar post card of the late Orthodox Patriarch Stephan who was also instrumental in saving the Jews. He threatened to lie on the rail tracks before he would allow any such prisoner train to leave Bulgaria. Bulgaria may appear from the outside to be a quiet stepsister state to the bustling rush of Western Europe but from inside this rural yet developing land an insistent generation is moving into place.
To be sure, many attitudes and ideas about governance and morality are laden with heavy conservative socialistic attitudes exercised by some obtuse authorities. Yet as the forces of modern Europe have urged them forward, these same leaders have, to their credit, chosen to open Bulgaria further thus submitting to the progressive social and economic policies required by EU membership. The challenge and strain will not be easy.
Prices will rise and jobs will be lost. Already international companies have set up business: Renault has taken ownership of the sagging Lada car company.
Living in shame and darkness creates an emotional trauma for LGBTI people, which makes them times more prone to suicide here. Every month, there are homosexuals who become victims of physical assault because of their different sexual orientation. Sofia Pride march is often blocked by nationalists.
1. Gays and lesbians are told not to demonstrate or discuss their homosexuality.
The march is guarded by police but street attacks happen after the event is over. Even women become victims of violence. Skinheads and nationalists are the usual suspects who use rocks, bottles, and even Molotov cocktails in the past.
Due to the fact that the march is severely guarded, nationalists now go to anti-gay pride marches, legally organized by five nationalist parties in the country. One of these parties, Ataka, currently has representation in Bulgarian parliament. The law on protection against discrimination was amended in and to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity. The criminal code, however, does not include punishment for violence based on sexual orientation or identity.