|SC||Variations of sex characteristics|
|GR1||Legal gender recognition without self-determination|
|GR2||Legal gender recognition with self-determination (over 16)|
|GR3||Legal gender recognition with self-determination (under 16)|
|FPN||LGBTI focal points network|
|CA||Ministerial call to action|
The Anti-Discrimination Act (2009) prohibits any direct or indirect discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The Act defines sexual orientation as “heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual orientation.” It does not, however, specifically mention gender identity or variations in sex characteristics. Although the category “gender” may also include in practice “gender identity”, civil society organisations report that such inclusive definition of “gender” is only identified in very few schools.
The Act provides that the Ministry of Education and Science shall take all the necessary measures to prevent discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. It specifies that educational institutions must have internal procedures to address discrimination and provide adequate information and support to people who have experienced a violation of their rights. In the case of non-fulfilment of these obligations, the head of the educational institution is liable under the Act.
The Unified Mechanism for Counteraction against Bullying at School (2012), as implemented by an order of the Minister of Education and Science, obliges every school to adopt specific measures aimed to tackle bullying at school. The document includes a definition of bullying and its types (i.e., physical, psychological, sexual and cyberbullying). Civil society organisations report that the mechanism calls for the creation of educational spaces where students can openly discuss bullying and can form empathy, tolerance and respect for differences, as well as can build conflict resolution skills that prevent bullying. The Unified Mechanism does not, however, specifically mention gender identity or variations in sex characteristics. LGBTQI people are, therefore, not specifically protected by this action plan (see Data collection).
Sex education is not part of the basic curriculum in Bulgaria and topics related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or variations in sex characteristics are not covered. There is also no obligation for teachers to address these topics in their classes. In a recent consultative process for the introduction of new curriculum on civic and diversity education, Bilitis sent a statement to the Ministry of Education underlining the need to include specific topics related to non-discrimination of LGBTQI learners at school. The organisation offered their support to the Ministry of Education on developing specific standards for sexual diversity education, but it has not been accepted as of yet.
There is currently no mandatory teacher training on LGBTQI awareness, and school staff have no specific in-service lessons or workshops.
The law on Bulgarian Personal Documents (1998, amended 2010) provides that a person must submit an application for new identity documents within 30 days of changing their gender. The Civil Registration Act provides that name and gender can only be changed through court proceedings. Most recent court cases have relied on self-identification as a primary criterion to decide applications for change of civil status. In particular, three transgender youth were granted legal gender recognition by the courts in 2016 without having to undergo sterilisation. However, as there are no clear legal procedures for deciding applications for change of civil status based on gender identity and variations in sex characteristics, courts decide on a case-by-case basis.
If any, data on bullying and harassment is not made public by the government. Bilitis has conducted recent research (2015) to evaluate the extent to which secondary schools in Sofia provide an inclusive environment for LGBTQI students and teachers. The research entitled ‘Schools for All?’ The Status of LGBTI Students and Teachers in Bulgarian Schoolsincluded an analysis of the internal school policies for prevention of discrimination, bullying, and violence; interviews of students and teachers who self-identify as gay, bisexual, or transgender; and a questionnaire for school principals. As one of the main results, the report concludes that “some forms of bullying against LGBTI are completely ‘normalised’ and neglected at school. The mocking and insulting is commonly ignored by teachers and administration”.
Local organisations (Bilitis, LGBT Deystvie Association, and GLAS Foundation) provide support to victims of bullying if approached by individual cases.
There is no specific information or guidelines for LGBTQI learners or guidance for the education sector on how to address bullying and harassment against LGBTQI students.
The government provides no support to LGBTQI civil society organisations working in the area of education (see Education curricula).
– Bulgaria has not signed the Call for Action by Ministers – Inclusive and equitable education for all learners in an environment free from discrimination and violence.
– Bulgaria is not a member of the European Governmental LGBTI Focal Points Network.
It Takes All Kinds [http://www.ittakesallkinds.eu/info/bg/]
The project includes the translation into Bulgarian of interactive teaching materials which can be used by teachers of different subjects to start a discussion on LGBTI identities at school. It also includes teacher training and pilot lessons at two schools in Sofia.
Covers: SO, GIE and SC