The “#Balkan Pride” project consisted of an exhibition, a public discussion with experts and activists from Bulgaria and the Balkans, and a music event – an acoustic concert by Mila Robert.
The “#BalkanPride” exhibition, showcasing photos from Pride parades in the Balkans, artifacts and videos with personal stories, was presented in SKLAD, Plovdiv, as a part of the “Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture” program. It was also presented in September in Belgrade, Serbia as a part of Belgrade Pride’s program.
More than 30 photographs told the story of the LGBT rights movement in Eastern Europe. The accompanying anti-pride demonstrations and protests were not omitted as well. The idea was to put the focus on the human rights and the fight for equality and meanwhile to find a contemporary interpretation of the Balkan traditions in the context of the global society and the digital times.
The Pride marches in the Balkans, in Europe and in the world are still incredibly important due to the stigma and hate LGBTI people face in their everyday life – being rejected by family and friends, being victims of hate crimes, being bullied in school, being discriminated at work, the lack of laws protecting LGBTI families.
The closing of the project in Plovdiv was marked by a public discussion dedicated to the topic of traditional Balkan values and identity with the participation of professor Ivaylo Ditchev, Filip Vulovic from Belgrade Pride and Dimitar Bogdanov and Simeon Vasilev from GLAS Foundation.
The news about the exhibition sparked controversial reactions that culminated with the public vandalization of Plovdiv 2019 Foundation’s office being covered with homophobic insults and threats. Those actions led to an open letter from GLAS Foundation and the director of Reward Getaway to the mayor of Plovdiv – Ivan Totev.
After the success in Plovdiv and Belgrade, GLAS Foundation plans to present the exhibition in other European Pride capitals in the next few years.