Bilitis Foundation, Glas Foundation, Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria and Oslo Pride launch the project “Community Voices”, implemented with financial support from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Financial Mechanism.
In 2021, there are still no government policies and measures to reduce inequality, discrimination and violence against LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) people in Bulgaria. Many people continue to hide their sexual orientation, including from colleagues, friends and family. Often, the media, due to ignorance of the specific challenges and experiences of LGBTI people, contribute to stereotyping and the imposition of false beliefs. The situation worsened dramatically in 2018 around the Istanbul Convention debate, when instances of anti-LGBTI hate speech became a daily occurrence, and in 2019 the main narrative was the fake news of “children being taken away and sent to Norway for adoption by gay couples”.
Ето защо основна цел на проекта „Гласове на общността“ е увеличаването на дела на хората, не одобряващи използването на реч на омраза или агресия спрямо ЛГБТИ. Един от начините за постигане на тази цел ще бъде повишаване осведомеността и познанията на хората относно ЛГБТИ That is why the main goal of the Community Voices project is to increase the proportion of people who do not approve of the use of hate speech or aggression against LGBTI people. One of the ways to achieve this goal will be to raise people’s awareness and knowledge about LGBTI through public campaigns to break stereotypes and myths. Other key activities include trainings for journalists to increase their knowledge on the topic and objectivity in reporting, promoting active citizenship through trainings for community spokespersons and their advocates, exchanging experiences with partners in Norway to build capacity and raise awareness of citizens on social policy in Norway, including through media appearances by Norwegian experts. The project targets the general public, journalists, LGBTI people, their parents and advocates.
In 2022, five trainings will be held to develop the communication skills and media presence of prominent LGBTI public speakers and activists. The Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria will organise two information seminars for journalists from across the country and publish a practical guide to reporting.
The trainings and the exchange of experiences aim to increase the knowledge and skills of LGBTI speakers, civil society organisations, journalists, which will lead to a better and more meaningful public debate. Increased capacity and professionalism is a necessary long-term resource on which to build more effective initiatives.
In recent months, LGBTI and women’s rights, civil society organisations have been targeted again, and there are already a number of misconceptions in society about so-called gender, third gender, etc. Therefore, the objectives of this project to debunk these myths and provide credible information through communication activities is of strategic importance to society at large.
More information about the Active Citizens Fund Bulgaria can be found at https://www.activecitizensfund.bg/