Tirana Gay Pride, love won again
Today in Tirana the 7th Pride was conducted. Members of LGBT community, supporters and allies participated in the Pride by biking and marching in the name of love. The itinerary of the Pride started from “Zogu I Parë” boulevard and it was finalized with the concert at the center square.
Additional to the participation in the pride of American ambassador Donald Lu, Swedish ambassador Johan Ndisi, Dutch ambassador Dewi Van de Weerd, representatives of NGOs and civil society, this year was quite surprising the presence for the very first time of Minister of Health, Ogerta Manastirliu and former Minister of Justice, Ylli Manjani.
Around 60 members of LGBT and supporters from Kosovo and Macedonia marched jointly to spread the message that love doesn’t recognize borders. The main message for this year was directed towards the bullism issue in schools on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Under the hashtags #kurajomedashuru, #krenarmeqenvetja ( proud to be yourself, courageous to love), the message of the Pride is: Love is the best remedy towards discrimination and hatred.
Xheni Karaj thanked all the LGBT members which took the courage to participate in the Pride and to publicly “come out”. “Today I want to thank all of you, members of LGBT community because today you were brave enough to participate and stand for your rights in the Pride, you encourage all those young people who “silently” suffer every day, all those people who can not freely love. This is an important day to give the message to people not to hate, but to love”.
Trans activists Lola and Serafina have given voice to the trans community lately and they have advocated against bullism, quite prevailing in schools.
Lola: Being in front of you today, it means a lot to me not only to voice the issue of bullism in schools towards LGBT people but also to bring attention for the rights of the marginalized community of trans people in Albania. We should have the same rights as all other citizens in the Republic of Albania and we don’t accept that our rights should be rejected! Therefore we won’t hide anymore, we won’t silent ourselves anymore until these rights are guaranteed to us.
Serafina: I didn’t want to leave high-school. I had to leave it without the opportunity to follow the University studies. I want to leave in a society where there is no room for hatred and where everybody respects each other because all of us is part of the world and we altogether can achieve a more inclusive society towards everyone.
Activists Lendi Mustafa from Kosovo, Bekim Hasani from Macedonia and Marko Mihailovic from Serbia shared their thought on the Pride during their speeches before the concert at the center.
Lendi Mustafa: Today I feel honored to be surrounded with brave people who have contributed for the LGBT community. This message is dedicated to all the people who could not participate in the Pride today because they didn’t feel comfortable. I have a message for all of you: when you feel uncomfortable in society, turn towards yourselves and do not forget to love.
Marko Mihailovic from “Belgrade Pride”: Due to the tireless job that all activists do in difficult circumstances, one day this square will be filled with people who have the same rights and opportunities.
Immediately after the Pride, a concert was held in “Skanderbeg” square, which was organized by Bojken Lako, a supportive figure for LGBT rights.
Tirana Gay Pride 7 was organized from the organizations “Alliance LGBT” and “Pro LGBT” with the help of CoE/EU Assistance through the initiative “Preventing and combating discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in Albania”./K.M.