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February 13, 2015

Research from Germany suggests that religious groups are aggressively opposing gay rights

It's hard to avoid the feeling that the world is becoming a more dangerous place, particularly for cartoonists, aid workers, journalists, or anyone prepared to make a stand, question the unquestionable or to speak up when it would perhaps be safer to remain silent.

January 8, 2015

Stylist is barred from both the male and female sections of the holy site

A transgender woman Monday (5 January) was barred from both the male and female sections of the Western Wall in Israel, the country with the most progressive trans policies in the Middle East.

Stylist Kay Long from Tel Aviv visited Jerusalem with a friend from Madrid, but was refused entry to the female section of the wall by a 'modesty volunteer' who said she was not a woman. She was then yelled away from the men's area.

The Western Wall, or Kotel, is the only remaining part of the Temple Mount and is the holiest site in Judaism.

October 24, 2014

And meet the other selfless animal heroes who picked up IFAW awards this week

Imagine sharing your home with 20 dogs, many of them maimed by horrific injuries. That’s daily life for a lesbian couple from Manchester, north-west England, who save dogs from Bulgaria and Cyprus who would otherwise be killed.

Emma Billington (pictured below) started as a dog walker and set up her dog crèche, Daycare4dogs, seven years ago.

Her dream was to use the profits to rescue and rehome injured and cruelly-treated dogs from overseas.

July 7, 2014

An LGBTI pride march was held in the Bulgarian capital on Saturday with the support of foreign diplomats but had to be diverted after nationalists stopped it approaching the city’s Vasil Levski independence monument

LGBTI rights protesters took to the streets of the Bulgarian capital Sophia for a seventh time on Saturday, calling on lawmakers and churches to respect their rights.

Reports say around a hundred people marched, protected by hundreds more police officers.

The march had originally been scheduled for 21 June, during international Pride Month, but organizers postponed the event out of respect for people who had died during deadly floods that week along Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.

April 17, 2014

In a brand new GSN weekly feature, we shine a spotlight on people fighting for LGBTI rights in countries around the world

Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people in Bulgaria are invisible.

A common mantra in the country is people have nothing against homosexuals, as long as they remain as discreet as possible, voiceless and hidden.

As a Bulgarian myself, I have seen for years how crucial problems of society are being swept like dust under the carpet.

And because no one talks about it, the fight for the LGBTI community to get any rights is slow, and often silent.

January 31, 2014

Bulgarian lawmakers have thrown out a law which would have ended LGBTI people’s freedom of expression and freedom to assembly with even more severe punishments than Russia’s ban on so-called homosexual propaganda

Lawmakers in Bulgaria have rejected a proposal which would have banned any public discussion or display of LGBTI identity.

The proposal to amend the Bulgarian Criminal Code to make public discussion or expression of homosexuality was even more extreme than Russia’s so-called gay propaganda ban.

December 26, 2013

The Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria has ruled that comments by Bulgarian film director Andrey Slabakov constitute unlawful harassment, ordering the country’s Commission for Protection against Discrimination to take action against him

Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that comments made on national television by actor and director Andrey Slabakov saying homosexuals were more dangerous than smoking are unlawful harassment.

During a television interview in 2011, Slabakov claimed that ‘gays are more dangerous than tobacco smoking because they spread AIDS on a mass scale.’

Slabakov said this posed a threat to the wider community because ‘some of them are bisexual’ and thus had the potential to spread the disease to heterosexuals as well.

August 14, 2012

Lady Gaga, who said ‘I hate fur and I don’t wear fur’ in an interview in 2007 photographed wearing fur twice in one week

The gay senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has lashed out at Lady Gaga for wearing fur.

August 6, 2012

The Bulgarian ambassador to the Holy Seat, Kiril Maritchkov, has been banned from Rome for having written a novel with a gay plot

The Vatican has refused to formally welcome the Bulgarian ambassador because of a row over a book he wrote which includes a gay story line.

Kiril Maritchkov, 37, has been ‘banned’ from being ambassador to the Vatican for having written a novel set in Italy including a gay plot. One of the main characters in the book pays another man for sex.

Tension is growing between the Vatican and Bulgaria as negotiations continue on the issue.

June 28, 2012

Amnesty International is calling on authorities in Bulgaria to change laws to bring homophobic attackers to justice

Human rights campaigners are calling for the Bulgarian government to take ‘urgent’ action over homophobic and transphobic hate crime.

Amnesty International claim attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Bulgaria are not properly investigated by police and an overhaul of the eastern European country’s legal system is needed to bring the perpetrators to justice.

June 27, 2012

Human Rights Watch call for Bulgarian government to denounce priest's calls to 'throw stones' and pride parade marchers

Activists are urging the Bulgarian government to denounce a priest’s calls for gay pride marchers in Sofia to be stoned.

In a letter to Justice Minister Diana Kovacheva, Human Rights Watch called for the cleric’s incitement to hatred and violence to be publicly condemned.

June 20, 2012

Orthodox church fails to distance itself from pride attack threats, slamming parade as 'immoral'

Organizers of a gay pride parade in Sofia, Bulgaria, are pleading with the church to stop calls for violence against marchers.

Father Evgeniy Yanakiev said 'stones should be thrown' at participants during the event in the Bulgarian capital on 30 June.

His comments have outraged the Sofia Pride initiative committee who are calling on the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to distance itself from the priest's extremist views, reported the Sofia News Agency.

April 7, 2012

Mr Gay World competitors in Johannesburg, South Africa take on sports, receptions, parties, elephants and the Belgian embassy

Mr Gay World contestants have spent the last few days absorbing South African culture and stripping off to take part in a ‘sports challenge’.

Delegates from around the world are attending the event in Johannesburg but Mr Gay New Zealand, Andrea Derleth, have picked up the prize so far, for an obstacle course and written exam on questions about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history.

April 2, 2012

Competition to be hosted by cabaret star and South African entertainer

A multi award winning South African entertainer and a cabaret star have been announced as hosts of the Mr Gay World (MGW) grand finale.

Taking place on 8 April at the Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City, Johannesburg, the event will also see performances from a number of acts including a Russian pop star and former Mrs World, a South African soap star and a local performance troupe.

Founded in 2009, the MGW contest is held annually and claims it allows gay men representing their nation to compete to become ambassadors for equality.

March 23, 2012

We look at the myths being lined up to criticize lesbian and gay marriages and the response to them

There has been a lot of criticism of same-sex marriage in Britain recently, after the UK government started to consult on how it could be introduced.

As in the US, Australia, Spain and countless other countries where the issue has been debated, much of the opposition is nonsensical and misleading.

So we’re busting the most common myths used by homophobes to try to block gay marriage.

Myth: Marriage is an ancient institution and we shouldn’t change it.