New research has highlighted the extent of homophobia in Bulgaria.

A poll released today found that 80% of Bulgarians have negative attitudes to gays and lesbians.

70% would not allow their child to be educated by a gay teacher and 50% would not work with a homosexual.

The poll “was presented at a roundtable in Sofia dedicated to sexuality issues and AIDS and HIV prevention,” according to Bulgarian news service novinite.com.

The study revealed that 59% are “extremely homophobic.”

Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in the 1960s, the age of consent was equalised in 2002 and anti-discrimination laws have been in place since 2003.

Gay rights group Gemini’s website claims the country has some of the best anti-discrimination legislation in Europe.

At Sofia Pride in June a heavy police presence ensured there were no injuries to the 150 participants.

More than 60 skinheads and rightwing nationalists were arrested and a homophobic mob threw petrol bombs, squid and stones.

150 police, some in armoured police vehicles, managed to keep order.

A survey of 27,000 people released in July by the European Union found that 51% overall thought sexual orientation discrimination was widespread in their country,

Only 20% of Bulgarians thought it was, the lowest score out of the 27 EU nations.

The UK was just below the average among the 27 EU nations, with 50% thinking discrimination against gay, bisexual and lesbian people is widespread.

Just 1% of Bulgarians said they had seen discrimination against gay people. 6% is the EU average.