The objectives are to analyse the legal and political environment, the practices and attitudes of the public authorities in regards to the rights of same-sex couples, recognized in other EU jurisdiction, when in Bulgaria. To collect personal experience of same-sex couples, recognized in other EU jurisdiction, when in Bulgaria. To prepare the ground for evidence-based social and political mobilisation of support for the rights of same-sex couples.
Development of research methodology
The researchers’ team at CSD will develop a methodology and research tools to define the specific approaches, research methods, key stakeholders and intervention procedures to be undertaken. The methodology will identify research questions, define operational definitions and hypothesis and provide templates and questionnaires to be consulted with the partners who will participate in the research efforts.
Desk research and communication with national authorities
The data collection will include desk research on available policies, legislation, reports, academic literature and possible court cases with focus on Bulgaria, but also looking at EU level and in other Member States which do not provide legal recognition of same-sex couples. Furthermore, the researchers will initiate official written communication with relevant national authorities (Ministry of Interior and its departments, municipalities, Foreign Ministry, the Ombudsman) and will conduct interviews with officials, clerks and officers who are in position to face same-sex couples, recognized in other jurisdiction, seeking recognition by Bulgarian authorities.
Field interviews with same-sex couples
Researchers from the three partner organisations with clear LGBT profile will conduct field work research and will seek to identify same-sex couples who have found recognition in another EU jurisdiction and are currently residing in Bulgaria. The interviews will seek to establish their experience, difficulties and possible interactions with authorities. The couples will be invited to tell their story publicly in the campaign videos.
Analysis and report
The researchers team will work jointly to analyse the collected material and create a report, outlining the situation with same-sex couples, recognized in another EU jurisdiction, residing or travelling to Bulgaria. The report will look at legal and political perspective, the position and attitudes of the state authorities and the personal experience of the same-sex couples. It will conclude with evidence-based position paper and policy recommendations which will be the bases of the petitions to Bulgarian authorities and the European Parliament to seek public support in Bulgaria and abroad. The report will be published in print and online in Bulgarian and English including a user-friendly summary leaflet in Bulgarian.
Our aim is to give a personal sentiment to the issue of the project and shift attitudes among neutral general public in support for same-sex couples’ recognition. Also to spread information about the rights violation the same-sex couples recognised in other EU member states face in Bulgaria and to mobilise support and active engagement among the LGBT community and allies to push for policy change to minimise or eliminate violations of freedom of movement within the EU for same-sex couples. We tend to do this by launching petitions and shooting videos of same-sex couples and screen them in various LGBTI-related events which will also be part of the project or are known yearly events – Sofia Pride Film Fest, Sofia Pride Art Week, LGBT Community seminars, etc.
...one to the Bulgarian parliament and relevant national authorities and another to the European Parliament. The concrete requests will be formulated on the basis of the research-based recommendations and after team analysis of what is realistic, understandable and could mobilise more public support. However, both petitions will request policy measures to reduce or eliminate the violations of freedom of movement for same-sex couples. The petitions will be widely disseminated online and offline – through the rest of the project events and any visibility materials that will be produced and shared.
Shooting and dissemination
campaign of videos
Team members from Marginalia and Deystvie will select and invite same-sex couples, identified during the research and will film their stories, stressing on the difficulties they face not being recognised in Bulgaria and a comparison with the jurisdiction that has recognized them. 4 videos will be shot and they will be the flagman of the awareness raising campaign. The videos will be also screened in other project events – the LGBTI community seminars, before each movie of the program of the Sofia Pride Film Fest and during all events of the policy dimensions.
LGBTI Community seminars
As part of the efforts to mobilise support among the LGBT community for the campaign, Deystvie will organise 4 community seminars with LGBTI people – in Sofia and in the country. The seminars are aimed to inform LGBTI people about legal recognition of same-sex couples in Bulgaria and other EU Member States and the challenges the different jurisdiction poses on freedom of movement and full enjoyment of EU-guaranteed rights for LGBTI people.
As part of the campaign, Sofia Pride Film Fest 2018 (7th edition) will be fully dedicated to the project theme and will screen movies and organise discussions and workshops around the topic of same-sex love and movement. The Fest is traditionally organized for a full week before Sofia Pride in June and hosts daily events and movie screenings. The Fest will offer between 5 and 7 events (screening + interaction in the form of meeting with a director, workshop, discussion), expecting 800 people – LGBTI people and allies. Directors and prominent LGBTI directors and/or movie critics from other EU member states will be invited. The campaign videos will be screened before every movie of the fest.
As part of the campaign, Sofia Pride Art Week 2018 (7th edition) will be fully dedicated to the project theme and will introduce exhibitions, art installations and performances around the topic of same-sex love and movement. The Art Week will offer between 4 and 6 events and/or art exhibitions/installations, expecting 1500 people – LGBTI people and allies. Prominent LGBTI artists and/or art critics from other EU member states will be invited. The campaign videos will be screened during the events.
Our objectives in this part are demanding commitment for policy change from national authorities in Bulgaria in regards to the rights of same-sex couples, recognised in other EU jurisdictions and mobilising support for policy changes on EU level concerning freedom of movement and same-sex couples recognition among LGBT people and allies across the EU. Also to show citizen support to European parliament and other EU level policy-makers for further changes guaranteeing freedom of movement for same-sex couples around the EU.
Having generated public support and media attention, the project turns to Bulgarian national authorities and decision makers and invites them for a round table where the research findings are presented, along with the policy recommendations. The round table will also serve as an official hand-over of the signed petition to the Bulgarian authorities. The national authorities will be then invited to report on what measures they can commit to. The authorities will include those interviewed in the research part, along with stakeholders like the Commission for Protection against Discrimination (as a national equality body), the Ombudsman and others.
Round table with local authorities
"Love Moves Towards Equality"
We will invite participants from at least 5 other EU Member States (representatives of associate partners), especially from countries with no recognition of same-sex couples like Bulgaria. The rest of the participants will be experts, stakeholders, human rights lawyers, activists. The main aim of the conference will be to disseminate the results of the project, especially the research, raise awareness on the situation in other countries through the invited participants, share practices and ideas. The expected outcome is a commitment to further disseminate the petition for action to the European Parliament, among LGBT communities and allies in other EU countries.
Petition support in other countries
Following the commitment from associate partners and activists from other EU countries, the petition to the European Parliament will be translated in English and if needed to other EU languages and will be disseminated through the channels of Bilitis, the associate partners and other networks of the partners (including ILGA-Europe). The petition will be disseminated along with the campaign videos.
The final event of the project will be a joint LGBT community and media event where the petition to the European parliament will be officially sent to the European Parliament. The event will also serve as a press conference for the end of the project. The petition itself will be sent along by post with a big sheet, on which participants of the event will share messages, personal experiences, drawings, graffiti or other creative ways of supporting their demand for a more just European Union where freedom of movement is guaranteed for LGBT people. With this creative message board and the petition, love moves to Brussels.