Singer Vasil Garvanliev came out as gay in an interview timed ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest. Garvanliev was chosen by the SDSM run Macedonian public television to represent the country, but was not welcomed in the general public, especially after he also declared that he has a Bulgarian passport and had a symbol of the Bulgarian flag introduced in his official video.
Garvanliev spoke with the British LGBT magazine Attitude, which declares him as “one of the first high profile figures in Macedonia to ever come out publicly as gay”. Should be noted, Garvanliev isn’t a high profile figure at all, in fact the first time he made “news” was in fact when the SDSM picked him to represent Macedonia in another misguided effort to appease Bulgaria.
Garvanliev adds that at one point during the Bulgarian flag controversy, he was afraid to leave his home for several weeks, insisting that the inclusion of the symbol was a coincidence and not deliberate. Garvanliev attributes the criticism he faced mainly to homophobia in the country.