“But why do those on this parade take to the streets? So that the children watch them”…
The words belong to a young woman having a chat with friends in the Sofia metro. “Next stop: National Palace of Culture,” the subway system announces, interrupting them. The abovementioned National Palace of Culture is exactly the starting point of the “March for the traditional Christian family” on June 12, which opposes the “Sofia Pride”, scheduled for the same day in support of the LGBTI community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people).
The opinion expressed by the woman in the subway can often be found in the comments on social networks. You can easily recognize them by the hashtag #I’mAgainst. Against “public manifestations of debauchery, nudity and all kinds of sexual vulgarity”, “normalization of pedophilia”, “Bulgarian state apparatus, under pressure from gender and pedophile organizations, which has the power to take away the rights of Bulgarian parents over their children and provide these children of same-sex couples and pedophiles” and so on.
Does the LGBTI community spread pedophilia?
In fact, tensions rose a week before the two parallel events over the screening of LGBTI-themed films within the Pride.
“LGBTI’s aggressive propaganda eventually ends in pedophilia,” IMRO MEP Angel Djambazki was quoted as saying on the occasion of a screening of the film “Snake” from the Sofia Pride Film Fest. Djambazky and his party are among the organizers listed in the “Traditional Christian Family March” event.
The film, directed by Andrei Volkashin, is a coproduction of a northern Macedonian and a Bulgarian team. It begins with children who find a snake while playing. One of the group catches it and starts harassing the others, but Mario, 9, defends himself by throwing a stone at him. A chase ensues, which takes Mario to the window of a stranger – a man named Borche, who is currently putting on make-up. While taking a selfie, he sees the boy in the background and quarrels with him. Mario explains what happened, Borche sympathizes with him and sends him home.
Later, the group of children reunites and fins a new game – putting on lipstick, and Mario is dresses in his mother’s wedding dress. His parents go home and see what the children are doing. The following is a scene in which Mario washes the dirty dress. At dinner, his father beats him up, and his mother asks him if he is gay, to which Mario replies, “What?” “Nothing, sorry, your mother is talking nonsense. I’m not mad at you for the dress, “says dad.
The story ends with a scene in which a group of children see Borche on the street and harass him. It leads to a blow in which the man faints. Everyone runs away, but Mario decides to return and apologizes to Borche with tears in his eyes.
Because of this mainstream violence and how it can become a role model, the IMRO – a conservative nationalist party, sent a letter to the State Agency for Child Protection asking: “Is pedophilia something normal? Because this is claimed in the scandalous movie “Snake”. In addition to the announcement, groups of opponents of Sofia Pride demonstrated their disagreement in front of the cinemas, where screenings of the film were planned.
Among the reasons for the reaction was a synopsis in which the relationship between Borche and Mario was described as “a friendship between the eccentric gay man Borche and the nine-year-old brave Mario”. There are many statuses on social networks that condemn the description as propaganda of pedophilia – “disgusting plot” according to IMRO, and other opponents of “Sofia Pride” replace the word “friendship” with “love” from the synopsis and change the meaning of the plot.
According to the laws of our country, pedophilia is considered fornication or sex with a person under 14 years of age. In Art. 149 of the Penal Code describes fornication as “committing an act in order to arouse or satisfy sexual desire without intercourse with respect to a person under 14 years of age.” For sex in Art. 157 points “sexual intercourse or acts of sexual gratification with a person of the same sex”.
“We were in the police station for about an hour and a half today. We watched the movie “Snake” with the police officers, including the Child Crime department and they said: “There is nothing like it at all”. Some of the police officers cried at the film”, lawyer Denitsa Lyubenova, who defends the rights of the LGBTI community, told Darik Radio on June 4. According to the program director of the Cinema House and artistic director of the Sofia Pride Film Fest, Hristo Hristozov, “of course, the film is not about pedophilia.”
There is no official announcement from the authorities, but “Snake” has not been stopped from broadcasting. The film has been screened at more than 30 festivals around the world, it has won the Best Film Award at the Petit Plan festival in Greece, and focuses entirely on children and young people. “So far, the film has been accepted everywhere as a heartfelt human story, suitable for viewing by both adults and children. Now, before the premiere in Bulgaria, we are facing such a reaction for the first time, even before the film is seen “, the director Andrey Volkashin said to dnes.bg.
Christianity, traditions, propaganda
“This ideology – the problem is just that – that it is anti-Christian in its original design and therefore there is no anti-Christian ideology – that says no man and woman, but a thousand genders, as many as we can imagine, no problem in complete sexual liberation, no problem even if we normalize and legalize pedophilia at some point – there can be no such anti-Christian ideology, in fact pagan in nature, in a Christian society,” Christian Shkvarek told Europe TV in March 2021. Shkvarek is tagged by Facebook as an organizer of the “Procession for the Traditional Christian Family” event.
Shkvarek is currently a representative of the group of European Conservatives and Reformists in Bulgaria, he was a candidate for MEP from IMRO in 2019. The reason for his speech is a request of cities and municipalities in Poland to become “LGBT-free zone”, to whom, in his words, the EU says, “No, you can’t.”
IMRO MEP Angel Djambazki also demanded that Bulgaria become a “zone without LGBTI propaganda”. “This, ladies and gentlemen in the EC and the EP, is fascism. Or worse, this is Stalinism! ”He was quoted as saying by his party’s press office after a European Parliament resolution was adopted. The document declared the EU a “zone of freedom for LGBTQI persons”, and the reason for its adoption was “the retreat regarding the rights of LGBTIK persons in some EU countries, in particular Poland and Hungary”.
In our country, an election campaign for parliamentary elections was underway in March. “On April 4, we will vote for those who respect traditional Bulgarian values, which are marriage between a man and a woman, as written in the Bulgarian constitution,” said in a video address Hristo Lafchiev – member of the Board of the Bulgarian Parents’ Central Committee. The organization is also listed on Facebook as initiator of the “Traditional Christian Family March”, which will take place during the election campaign for the new parliamentary elections on July 11.
“Because it’s easy to say that a dog is a cat, that a lion is a bird, that a whale today feels like a dolphin, and a dolphin is a sparrow. But the family is something very specific – it has always been a man and a woman. If I feel mulatto today, it does not mean that I am one – on the contrary, I should be taken to some specific institutions. People, on these elections we are going to vote for value systems “, Hristo Lafchiev agitated in March.
“The procession for the traditional Christian family”
is scheduled for June 12. Apart from coinciding with Sofia Pride in this way, accidentally or not it marks the beginning of the campaign for the July 11 parliamentary elections. Among the organizers of the procession, in addition to the mentioned parties and representatives, there are people and organizations associated in one way or another with political formations. The event reached 675,495 accounts on Facebook, according to data from the online tool CrowdtAngle (until June 10).
Another association – ROD International (Parents United for Children International) participates both through its main Facebook page and with those of its Ruse, Plovdiv and Veliko Tarnovo structures.
Among the initiators of the procession is the page “David Aleksandrov” with administrator David Alexandrov. He and his family are in one of the photos advertising the event.
Alexandrov is a member of the management board of ROD International, he was also a candidate for MP from the civil quota in the lists of IMRO in Sofia and in Ruse at the April 4 vote for the National Assembly. In his campaign, he campaigned with online posters promising “affirmation of traditional, Bulgarian, family and Christian values” and “strengthening marriage and family by father – man, mother – woman and their children.” Alexandrov also organized the distribution of “300 Orthodox New Testaments and Children’s Bibles, approved by the Ministry of Education.”
Another member of the board of directors of ROD International, Vladimir Sheitanov, is also among the organizers of the “March for the Traditional Christian Family”, presented through the “Personal Page of Attorney Sheitanov “. In his profile, he spreads information about the “war for children” and the “war for the family.” Among the shared are demands to stop the “revival of the Istanbul Convention” and the adoption of the National Strategy for the Child. With similar motives, lawyer Sheitanov also spoke out against the European Strategy for the Rights of the Child.
“ROD International” has an agreement with Ataka (“Attack” in Bulgarian, another conservative nationalist party) to co-operate in stopping “anti-family policies that seek to break up the Bulgarian family”, announced on the party’s Alpha TV.
Behind the “Procession for the Traditional Christian Family” stands another party – HONOR (“Pure, united and sovereign homeland”). In the register of political parties at the Sofia City Court, Ivan Spiridonov and Simeon Kostadinov are listed as representatives of the formation.
In a January 2021 text by “Free Europe” (a Bulgarian webbased media) entitled The “Struggle with Soros and the “Karmic Connection” with Russia. A New Nationalist Party Is Looking for a Place under the Sun” Kostadinov is described as a lawyer, an active participant in Lukovmarsh and the author of a biography of Gen. Hristo Lukov. In 2013, Kostadinov spoke about “Blood and Honor” in front of the Capital newspaper and described its members as follows: “young people who have an extremely keen sense of justice, an extremely clean and clear national self-consciousness and when they feel these things they perceive as supreme values, endangered, then they may not be quite loving to the enemies of the homeland ”.
“Blood and Honor” coincides with the popular Nazi slogan “Blut und Ehre”, which also served as the title of the eponymous collection of articles and essays by the top Nazi official and inspirer of the Holocaust – Alfred Rosenberg. The movement is banned in several countries. Kostadinov told Free Europe that the name HONOR, which he chose for his party, was a “coincidence” with part of the name of the neo-Nazi organization.
Another one, named as an organizer of the “Procession for the traditional Christian family”, is the association “Theocracy”, which espouses “building a healthy, free and responsible society, based on the irrevocable grace of God given in the Scriptures “The Bible”, as it announces in Facebook.
Behind the event are also the Facebook pages “Bulgarian Parents – Modern Vigilantes”, “Let’s keep the Bulgarian family”, “Freedom is a responsibility” and ther initiative “Citizens in defense of the family and the child”. And they share the same or similar positions for the preservation of the traditional Bulgarian Christian family.
What is Sofia Pride really about?
The objectives of the event include “protection against discrimination and protection against other violations of fundamental human rights” by LGBTI people, “effective prevention and combating of domestic and gender-based violence against all victims without exception” and “introduction of a legal form for regulation of the personal and property relations of the partners in same-sex couples ”.
Pride organizers hope to achieve not only equal treatment of LGBTI people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but also their acceptance by society.
Those are really high hopes, as a brand new study published on June 9, 2021 shows. According to it, the attitude of Bulgarian citizens towards LGBTI communities is moderately conservative. “There is a consensus that LGBTI communities should not flaunt their differences,” the researchers said, concluding:
“In short – patience with them, as long as they are not noticed.”