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A record number of attendees and no incidents at Sofia Pride 2022

A record number of attendees and no incidents at Sofia Pride 2022

Over 12 thousand people were part of the 15th edition of Sofia Pride, which was held under the slogan “Proud to be”. Traditionally, after the spectacular concert a parade through the central streets of the Bulgarian capital took place. From the main stage of the biggest event in support of human rights in Bulgaria, the hosts Olya Malinova and Malina Yank addressed the 15 messages of the Sofia Pride Committee to the society and institutions.

Photo: Emil Metodiev

The main goal of Sofia Pride 2022 this year was equal rights for LGBTI people, not only by treating them equally regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but also by calling for the necessary changes in state policy towards LGBTI people.

In addition to Mila Robert, Ruth Koleva, Victoria and Preya, this year for the first time in support of the cause the concert was attended by Kamelia, Papi Hans, Hayes & Y, Dara Ekimova, Liana Georgi and the special guest from Ukraine – the singer Constantine. The event proceeded without riots and provocations. Special participation in the concert took this year’s winners of Benediction Drag Race – Enigma and Africa Benediction.

Photo: Emil Metodiev

From the stage of Sofia Pride 2022 the Sofia Pride Committee appealed for tolerance and protection from discrimination. They talked about the two cases won this year – the “Baby Sarah” case and the “Stoyanova v Bulgaria” case in connection to the brutal murder of Mihail Stoyanov.

After 15 years of Sofia Pride, there is still a lack of legislative changes guaranteeing security and equal rights for LGBTI people, as for all citizens of Bulgaria. But Pride has achieved change and it was in the faces of all those over 12,000 people we were with on Saturday. However, big change requires political will and the realization that the thousands of people in the square are not a colorful carnival, but a clear call to action.” says the GLAS Foundation chairman Simeon Vassilev.

Ambassadors and representatives from the embassies of France, the UK, the US, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, Ireland, Switzerland, Romania, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, and the Czech Republic attended the event and greeted participants from the stage.

Photo: Emil Metodiev

Traditionally, Sofia Pride also included Sofia Pride Arts, Film Fest and Sports. Sofia Pride Arts featured Lana Yanovska with her photo exhibition “Open Proximity – The Life of the LGBTQ+ Community in Ukraine“, Teodora Tsanova and Elisaveta Vacheva with their exhibition “Fusion“, DJ Kaloo, also known as Paper Daddy, with his gay manga exhibition “Gay Batki” and the staging of the poetry performance “I Wanted to Tell You“.

Fracture“, “Firebird” and “Women Do Cry” are just some of the films screened at the 10th anniversary edition of the festival, presenting LGBTQ+ themed cinema Sofia Pride Film Fest. The entire selection included 4 feature films and 4 documentaries, as well as two short selections with Bulgarian cinema.

Part of the proceeds during Sofia Pride will be donated to Kiev Pride, which was not held this year due to the Russian military aggression in Ukraine.

This year’s edition of Sofia Pride is supported by the US Embassy, the Bulgarian Women’s Fund, Walltopia, Ingram Micro, Paysafe, HPE, Mastercard, Absolut, Sutherland, EY and Accenture. The event is organized by the Committee including GLAS Foundation, Bilitis Foundation, LGBT Youth organization “Deystvie”, Bulgarian Helsinki Committee and individual activists. Sofia Pride has been held every year since 2008.

Cover photo: Emil Metodiev

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