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A Bulgarian Perspective of City for LGBT+

As a long-term activist for LGBTI rights in Bulgaria and one who is also professionally engaged with disseminating the TFN model in my country, I was thrilled to be invited to attend the City for LGBT+ Event on May 21, 2019. What a clever way to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia - I took a note to organize a similar event on May 17th next year in Sofia. 

The usual warm atmosphere, which characterizes every TFN event, was there from the very first moment when I entered the building of Macquarie Group and was directed to the 11th floor. A volunteer from Consortium turned out to be the Bulgarian Martin Karadzhov, whom I had been in contact with previously. It's a small world, especially when one is an LGBTI rights activist. I was so happy about the new partnership between TFN and the largest network of LGBT groups in the UK, Consortium

The talk with Lord Browne at the start of the event reminded me of the long road to acceptance, which almost every lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or intersex person needs to walk before achieving the internal confidence to live openly. It also reminded me that the full recognition of the human rights of LGBTI people is a very recent phenomenon, and an achievement that needs to be protected on daily basis. The recent backlash against LGBTI rights in some European countries (Bulgaria included), caused by the spread of the anti-gender ideology, clearly showed that gender diverse people are commonly used as scapegoats by ideologies whose ultimate goal is to infringe the personal freedoms in present-day democracies. 

I loved all four pitches and admired all organizations that presented at the event. It was moving, insightful and exhilarating at the same time. Before leaving, Martin Karadzhov from Consortium shared his feelings that it was a good start, because it was the first event of this kind co-organized with TFN. In my view, TFN events of this kind, dedicated to a particular sphere of civil society development, are needed, but also require a lot of work to bring in the wider philanthropic community in support of just one cause. 

Monika Pisankaneva, Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation, Bulgaria and TFN International Affiliate​


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