On March 6th, Single Step Foundation and Bilitis Resource Center Foundation presented the report "Attitudes towards LGBTI students in Bulgarian schools", which was written on the basis of a national survey conducted for the 2017/2018 school year.
In this first for Bulgaria national quantitative survey 880 participants aged 14 to 19 years from all 28 districts of the country took part. The main purpose of the study was to learn more about the experience of LGBTI students at school – do they face harassment, do they report for incidents, do they receive support, etc.
The report’s data and recommendations were presented by Nikoleta Gabrovska, director of the Single Step Foundation and Lilia Dragoeva, director of Bilitis Foundation. Yuri Valkovski, director of Reach for Change Bulgaria and Trayan Trayanov, director of “Zaedno v chas”, joined the event as speakers, commenting on the worrying trends the report presents. Joseph Kosciw, director of GLSEN Research Institute, presented a comparative analysis of the data, gathered through the same study conducted in ten Eastern European countries. The event was moderated by the journalist Genka Shikerova.
One of the main messages of the report was the fact that hate speech is not considered a problem at school – both by school staff and students, that it is widely tolerated, which in turn leads to harassment and violence. The majority of respondents do not report abuse, and when they do, they do not receive effective support. The organizers stressed that the data is symptomatic for many marginalized students that are harassed on many different grounds (weight, ethnic origin, etc.) and that such a hostile school environment is detrimental to the entire school community.
The full report can be read here.
The event was part of the three-year project "Empowering young LGBTI people through access to services, motivation and focused policy change", implemented with financial support, provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Financial Mechanism. The main objective of the project "Empowering young LGBTI people through access to services, motivation and focused policy change" is to support and empower young LGBTI people and their professionals.