This is a space for LGBTI+ people to tell stories about themselves and their lives. Because Queer Stories Matter!

Who am I?

“I’m an ecouteur, audiophile, word-fetishist”. I read this line in a book in my late teenage years. I think it was Philip Roth’s “Portnoy’s Complaint” but I may be wrong, it was a long time ago. Apart from witty, I thought the line was describing me in a way I hadn’t thought about: I too like listening. Especially to stories – those where a person tells about themselves in the context of their life and environment.

My name is Borislav (or Bobby, for short). I’m Bulgarian but I live in Thailand where I work for a non-government organisation advocating for the rights of women migrants and survivors of human trafficking. I’m also the Editor of a peer reviewed journal specialised in the issue of human trafficking.

Why Queer Stories Matter?

In 2021, I guest edited a feature series titled “Unwanted and Unwelcome”, which was published on the Bulgarian LGBTI+ portal Out.bg. The series provided a space to queer Bulgarians who live outside their country of origin to speak about themselves, their motivations for migration, their life abroad, how they perceive their home country, and more. We published the stories of 19 people, eight of whom sent short essays and with eleven I conducted interviews and we published the interviews. Beyond the personal experiences (which were amazing!), I felt that for some of the participants, the telling of their story had a bit of a cathartic, or a relieving, effect: for some, it was the first time they were sharing a painful story from their past; for others, it was the first time they were speaking publicly about their sexual orientation or gender identity and they didn’t know how their friends or family may react if they read it. One even told me that the interview process itself was therapeutic and thanked me for doing this for this community.

Storytelling is an established method for empowerment of underprivileged groups and can also contribute to a sense of community among LGBTI+ people as well as better acceptance among the larger society. Stories help us see others as people like us and recognise that there is more that unites us than divides us. As the Nigerian feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said during a 2021 lecture in the University of Cape Town, “How we relate to people who are different from us, people who we might never get to see, who we might never have a personal interaction with, is very much shaped by the stories we consume of those people, how they are portrayed in media, and it seems to me that because we are unfamiliar with the stories of one another, we are then unfamiliar with one another.”

I was eager to continue doing similar series and providing space for LGBTI+ people to tell stories about themselves and their lives. And this is how the idea for QSM was born.

I’m doing this in my free time because I enjoy it and I see value in it. It is my own initiative and is not connected to any organisation or funding. I am using my own funds to cover the costs related to the website (which are not high).

How can I share my story?

You can send me an email to [email protected]. If you don’t want to write but you want to tell your story, you can send me an email and I can conduct an interview with you and publish the interview. You can also record the audio file, upload it to Google Drive or Dropbox or another file sharing site and send me the link to the email address above.

Keep in mind that everything that’s posted on the internet may be seen my someone you don’t want to see it. Consider carefully what and how many details you’d like to include in your story. For your own safety, it may be a good idea to use a pseudonym (chosen, fake name) or an initial to refer to yourself. You can use broad time periods, such as “in the spring of 2020” or “in the beginning of March”, etc. Likewise, you can refer to places like “in the capital city of country in Asia” or “a small town in a country in Eastern Europe.

Apart from your stories, I’d be happy to hear some feedback about this website and its contents. Please do not abuse this site with spam or vulgar messages.