Connect with us

Europe

Bulgarian LGBTQ community center attacked, vandalized

Ultranationalist presidential candidate accused of leading attack

Published

on

Bilitis Foundation's Rainbow Hub Offices in Sofia vandalised via Twitter

SOFIA, Bulgaria — A Bulgarian LGBTQ rights group says the leader of an ultranationalist political party who is running for president led an attack against their offices and community center on Saturday.

The Bilitis Foundation in a series of tweets said “a group of about 10 men and women stormed” the Rainbow Hub, a community center it runs in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, with the GLAS (Gays and Lesbians Accepted in Society) Foundation. at around 5:30 p.m. local time (8:30 a.m. PT).

The Bilitis Foundation said the attack took place during a “trans community gathering.”

The assailants, according to the Bilitis Foundation, vandalized the office and struck Gloriya Filipova, the group’s project coordinator, in the face. The Bilitis Foundation said Boyan Rasate, who leads the Bulgarian National Union and is “”well-known for his LGBTI-phobic actions and statements,” masterminded the attack.

“All I ever aimed for was creating safer spaces for our community,” tweeted Filipova after the attack. “Yesterday my biggest fear came true: Our community center was destroyed and I got punched in the face. I’m sure that we have enough love to heal, but this really hurts. It is time for the BG (Bulgarian) institutions to act.”

ILGA-Europe has condemned the attack and urged Bulgarian authorities “to publicly condemn the attacks, investigate and sanction the attackers.” EuroPride is among the other organizations that have expressed support for the Bilitis and GLAS Foundations.

Bulgaria is a Balkan country that borders Serbia, North Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Romania and the Black Sea.

The Bilitis Foundation in a tweet notes it, along with AllOut, less than two weeks ago submitted to the Bulgarian Justice Ministry a petition with more than 8,000 signatures that demands the country’s Criminal Code include hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Bulgarian Constitutional Court on Oct. 27 ruled the word “gender” only applies to the “biological sense.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Europe

Switzerland marriage equality law to take effect July 1

Voters on Sept. 26 overwhelmingly approved ‘Marriage for All’ statute

Published

on

(Public domain photo)

BERN, Switzerland — The Swiss government on Wednesday announced same-sex couples as of July 1 will be able to legally marry in the country.

The announcement comes less than two months after Swiss voters voted overwhelmingly in favor of the “Marriage for All” law. Switzerland will join neighboring France, Germany, Austria and other European counties that have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples.

“It’s a great achievement,” Maria von Känel, co-president of the “Marriage for All” campaign, told the Los Angeles Blade after the Sept. 26 referendum. “Our partnerships and families are now recognized equally and legally.”

Continue Reading

Europe

Lady Gaga calls Italian LGBTQ+ community ‘the bravest’

“You must be protected at all costs, like all human beings here on Earth, and I will continue to write music for you and fight for you”

Published

on

Lady Gaga (Screenshot via Che Tempo Che Fa YouTube)

MILAN — In an appearance on an Italian talk show, Lady Gaga voiced support for the LGBTQ+ community in Italy after a hate crime law was struck down in October. 

“I wanted to tell the LGBTQ+ community here in Italy that you are the bravest, the kindest, the most generous,” she said ​​during an interview on Che Tempo Che Fa. “You must be protected at all costs, like all human beings here on Earth, and I will continue to write music for you and fight for you.”

The bill — referred to as the Zan bill, named after Alessandro Zan, a Democratic lawmaker and LGBTQ+ activist who introduced the legislation — would have banned sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and disability discrimination by amending Italy’s penal code. 

It passed the lower house in the Italian parliament in 2020, but disapproval from far-right groups and Catholics contributed to the bill stalling in the Senate. 

Over the summer, the Vatican protested the Zan bill, sending a diplomatic note that claimed the anti-homophobia bill “reduce[s] the freedom granted to the Catholic Church.”

Senior Italian lawmakers pushed back against the “interference” from the Vatican. 

“All concerns must be heard and all doubts dispelled, but there can be no foreign interference in the prerogatives of a sovereign parliament,” Zan tweeted following the Vatican’s protest, per CNN

Months later, the Senate voted 154-131 in a secret ballot to stop debate on the legislation. 

Zan responded to Lady Gaga’s comments on the show by tweeting: “Yes, Lady Gaga, the Italian LGBTQ+ community is strong and courageous. More than a society still steeped in hatred, more than senators hiding behind a secret vote. We will not give up until this battle is won. Thanks for your support.”

Lady Gaga, who is bisexual, is promoting her new movie “House of Gucci,” which was shot in Italy. The film is set to be released later this month.

Lady Gaga: “In Italia quando mi sono sentita più bella”

Continue Reading

Europe

U.S. condemns attack on Bulgaria LGBTQ community center

American ambassador visited Rainbow Hub on Monday

Published

on

(Photo courtesy of the Bilitis Foundation)

SOFIA, Bulgaria — The U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria on Monday condemned an attack against an LGBTQ community center that took place over the weekend.

The embassy—along with the Australian, Belgian, Canadian, Danish, French, Irish, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish and British embassies—in a statement said they “strongly condemn the Oct. 30 attack against the Rainbow Hub, a home for Bulgarian organizations that promote equality and the protection of the rights of LGBTQI+ persons.”

U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria Herro Mustafa and other diplomats from the U.K., Ireland, Denmark, France and the Netherlands on Monday visited the community center in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, “to express solidarity with our friends and partners in the face of this senseless attack.”

“LGBTQI+ rights are basic human rights, and like many Bulgarians we reject violence and intolerance, which have no place in any democratic society,” reads the statement.

The Bilitis Foundation and the GLAS (Gays and Lesbians Accepted in Society) Foundation run the community center that was attacked on Saturday as a group of transgender people were meeting inside. Boyan Rasate, a presidential candidate who leads the Bulgarian National Union, an ultranationalist political party, led the attack.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular