Fri, May 24 2013
The Bulgarian Gay Organization Gemini (BGO Gemini) is recruiting "dangerous volunteers armed with smiles" to gather in Sofia on August 11 for their third Pink Point informational campaign.
At the event, which will be held in Actavis" Park between Sofia University and the Parliament, volunteers will provide basic information about gay and lesbian issues to the general public. Informational brochures and cards with information on homosexuality and HIV/AIDS prevention will be distributed, targeting people of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds, political views, and education levels.
"There are many misconceptions about gays and gay rights in the Bulgarian society, and this is a way to ensure people are getting accurate and fair information," said BGO Gemini Executive Director Aksinia Gencheva.
The event will be recorded on video. Interested passers-by will have the opportunity to answer questions about their awareness and opinions on gay issues such as discrimination and civil partnerships.
The volunteers are trained to be honest when talking to passers-by.
Gencheva emphasized that volunteers must understand that not everyone is going to share their beliefs, and must not blame passers-by for disagreeing with their opinions.
"It is incredibly vital for information campaigns like this to tackle any issues arising using real facts and figures, and not personal opinions or beliefs. That is what we train the volunteers to do," said Gencheva.
In addition to Saturday's Pink Point campaign, this year BGO Gemini have added an outreach campaign, Friday Night Fever, on Friday August 11. In an effort to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS, free condoms and informational cards will be distributed at the gay clubs in Sofia.
BGO Gemini, which has about 110 members, sponsors events in collaboration with Association Center for Independent Living, the Red Cross and others. The organization recently worked on a program called FLAME, which focused on ending discrimination in the workplace and was funded by the American Embassy. A new project, Deafening Silence: The Case in our Schools, takes on issues of diversity sensitivity in high schools.
Established as an NGO in the Sofia District Court on September 9 1992, the organization's mission is to "reach an inclusive social and political environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Bulgaria," according to the BGO Gemini website.
BGO Gemini started out as a hotline staffed by volunteers ready to answer questions about HIV/AIDS and LGBT issues. With the support of UNAIDS, in 1997 the organization began to provide social support and informational materials about HIV/AIDS.
About Saturday's event, Gencheva said "if people go home to talk to their family and friends about the information they receive, that would be a success. Starting a dialogue is the key."
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