All movies are available on the website; the participants will receive their trophy (dvd) soon; BGO Gemini continues its mission to reach an inclusive social environment for homosexual, bisexual and transgender people in Bulgaria; Stichting FLL is greatful to Mama Cash and the Dutch Embassy in Bulgaria for having been able to contribute to BGO Gemini's mission.

Of course we as Stichting FLL will continue our work as well. But for now it's time to close this chapter and show you the two shorties that resulted from the last workshop. A commercial and a parody. When the parody of the statements of the Bulgarian National Union were made we didn't have a clue that two days later reality would completely overrule the parody. Listen and watch the expressions in the movie, but bare in mind the following ones:

(According to a teacher/woman) "If you really insist on promoting values and ethics, you [the Dutch Ambassador] should allocate funds for medical staff in the schools to cure the people from this homosexuality."

(According to Boyan Rasate, leader of the Bulgarian National Union) "Today the Bulgarians know the Netherlands as country where the drug addicts, homosexualism and all other perversions are tolerated."

Got some work to do...

Smilies - commercial

Baklitsa i drian Live

On Tuesday we arrived back home in the Netherlands. With our minds still blurry 'cause of all the adventures and experiences in Sofia we finalized the results of the last workshop. And we are happy!

In about two weeks time BGO Gemini will organize a meeting with all the participants and screen the movies that result from the video workshops. Finally they can watch all the results. Twenty participants can look back on a marvelous job they did: creating eight movies! that cover topics like challenges for same-sex couples due to the current family law and the struggle for equal rights; corrective rape = forced sex to 'cure' lesbians and transform them into straight women; and the right to choose your own partner. Topics that deserve discussion and action to create an inclusive society for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people. By screening the results during meetings, it might contribute to raise awareness about issues that concern the LGBT-community; on a local level, but on a political level as well.

Besides all this serious stuff the two making-of shorties show you that making movies together is great fun, and creates a very interesting group dynamics.

Anyway. We still owe you the final results of the last workshop...

This weekend we are in a place called Plovdiv, which is a 1,5 hour drive by car from Sofia. It is a very old city with an ancient city centre. Dimitar one of the volunteers of BGO Gemini who lives here made a very busy schedule to show us all the interesting places, see photo impression.. Including a visit to the oldest mixed club in Bulgaria, Calugula. With drag queen performance...

dimitarinterieurkerk

exterieurmoskeemuts

The third workshop was great, lots of learning and laughter. Yesterday as a way of saying goodbye we decided to go to Tae-bo with a bunch of women from this workshop. Today I can't begin to explain what hurts most...

At the final day of the last workshop we got a loud and clear signal why we were in Sofia in the first place. BGO Gemini had the closure of a project to increase the acceptance of diversity in high schools, which was sponsored by the Dutch Embassy. As it requires first the chair of the anti-discrimination commission had his say and also the ambassador promoted the results of the project. Quite a few journalists were present, both writing and filming. And then it appeared that Boyan Rasate’s group, the Bulgarian National Union, were present.

First a teacher of a high school took her chance to make a statement on how evil it is to promote diversity in schools. She suggested that the Dutch Ambassador should allocate some money to safe the national Bulgarian values and stop promoting homosexuality to children. Boyan Rasate applaused and started a monologue on differences between men and women (strong men and weak women - who should have many children together). And since Bulgaria started to accept homosexuality by law then one should also tolerate pedophilia (???), which of course would ruin this country they are proud of. The Netherlands were presented as the land of Sodom and Gomorra and he knew this because he had been in Amsterdam. The Dutch Ambassador cunningly responded that he must have been 'in a very dark room' while visiting the Netherlands. Besides that the ambassador stated that he was not talking about Bulgaria, not talking about Europe, but about the human rights that form the fundamental basis of equality between all people.

We haven't subtitled the video impression of the debate, but you'll notice the disability of the Bulgarian National Union to participate in a decent debate. But the strong anti-diversity voice caused another reaction: one of the teachers that actually implemented the project in her school will proceed and cooperate with BGO Gemini in a follow-up. And we hope of course that the Dutch Ambassador noticed how essential his support is to create a society that embraces diversity.

Anyway, for us it showed that the video workshops in Bulgaria to empower the LGBT-community have been very much worthwhile.

If you want to see them, click part 1 and part 2.

Stichting FLL