My Story: The Volunteer

Specialized Help for Patients with HIV/AIDS
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I Reach Out

I believe that a moment comes sooner or later when you want to pay it forward. Not because you are a superman without any problems, but because an invisible mechanism has been triggered. A human mechanism, called responsibility. It is easy to observe things from the outside and discover how bad the situation is, to compare the obvious differences with the so-called "developed societies" and to nod your head with cynical apathy that here in Bulgaria, we are doomed. This passive period of my life, besides the obvious convenience of a mere observer, also gave me a great deal of anxiety as I was feeling absolutely helpless.

I began to think what I could do – with my experience and my knowledge – to achieve not some kind of a world change but to prove that I live in this world and I can contribute to it. And this was when Single Step appeared – a place in which I saw the opportunity and the privilege to be useful. And maybe this is the moment for me to say that I'm homosexual. I am completely open, accepted by the people who matter to me, in a serious relationship, and have already turned my back to the feeling that sexual orientation is a determining and major factor for my existence. Yes, it is a part of me, but it does not define me completely. I say that because I see how its importance is often exaggerated to the extent that we exclude ourselves from society because it acts as a mirror to our own fears – that we will be disqualified, humiliated, and ultimately condemned to isolation. I'm not saying that it is not difficult – especially at the beginning, when after the words "I am..." there is a suffocating silence, as if somebody has put a knife to my throat while my whole being longs to come out. And yes – there is rejection, but prejudices are a human invention.

I believe, however, that what often sabotages us on the path to coming out is the expectation and the hope that we will be accepted by everyone at all cost. If we think realistically, the earth just does not spin like that. And aren’t we passing on to the others too much responsibility this way? In the end, acceptance and coming out are a matter of personal choice. And the need for someone to be with you while you are confused, sad, scared, or when you just want to talk, but there is no one, is completely human and normal. I'm grateful to Single Step that I can extend my hand in such moments – the same way someone has extended their hand towards me.


Single Step's volunteers are working on the online support chat everyday between 8 pm and 11 pm.