A new title on Bulgaria’s book market
What does it mean to have thoughts full of color? Does love have a gender? What is the feeling of living dressed in somebody else’s clothes and in somebody else’s thoughts? Do you want to see the encounter of two souls that in different circumstances would have started their own family? She is herself and he is himself and they discuss whatever comes into their minds.
On June 29th, the garden of Yalta Club in central Sofia hosted the premiere of "Conversations with Desislava a.k.a. the Soldier” – a book written by charismatic human-rights activist Desislava Petrova and talented journalist Ivan Cherkezov. Desislava Petrova is coordinator of Campaigns and Communications at the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee since early 2010. She is an advocate for human rights and fights for equal rights for the Bulgarian LGBT community since 2000 (LGBT - lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people). Desislava has participated in working groups on the preparation of new legislation, national plans and proposals for changes in the Bulgarian and European legislation relating to people with unconventional sexual orientation. These include amendments to the Penal Code, participation in the development of the draft Anti-Discrimination and the Registered Partnership bills.
What are the main topics debated in the book "Conversations with Desislava a.k.a. the Soldier"?
"Actually, Conversations with Desislava sets the basis for a debate”, specifies Desislava Petrova. “It is based on topics other than what we have heard so far. As soon as we wrote the book, Ivan and I started to offer it to the big publishers. They said they were not going to publish the book because it was not what they had expected to read. Being one of the faces of activism for the rights of different people, people with unconventional sexual orientation in Bulgaria, I was expected to have written a book full of sensational stories, shocking the public. It turned out that it is no different from what happens with heterosexuals. So many of our publishers closed the door to us, saying that if it was not full of yellow facts, I will not get published. And what is debated? The main thing we talk about in this book is love. We tell stories that have happened to me and Ivan. We are quite different, but the ideology we share makes us friends, although I am a homosexual and he is the typical heterosexual male. So we are a strange couple to write a book together."
What motivates Desislava to actively participate in projects and campaigns related todiversity, protection from discrimination, intercultural dialogue, ethnic minorities and the rights of people with disabilities?
"I have always been socially active, ever since my school years. We had campaigns for environmental protection”, Desislava says. “These were my first steps to build good citizenship. Later, I became interested in women's rights after, on several occasions, I became a victim of violence myself because of my different sexual orientation. Then I decided it was time to work for this cause, too. Over the years, I have had the chance to meet many people from different strata of society, people with disabilities, and people with different ethnic backgrounds. Thus I embraced many causes. There are days when I do not have time for myself. But what makes me work for these causes is that I cannot go to bed calmly and quietly, if I know that somewhere something unfair has happened. And if I had the opportunity to react and I dind’t, I will not ever forgive myself. If I believe in a cause, I am ready to fight for it to the very end."
Desislava Petrova and Ivan Cherkezov say it is advisable to live among different shapes and colors. And why is that so? You can find the answers to these questions in their book "Conversations with Desislava a.k.a. the Soldier...".
English Rossitsa Petcova