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news 06 Oct 17

Activists Announce First Pride Parade in Kosovo

LGBTI organizations in Kosovo announced that the first ever Pride Parade in the country will be staged next Tuesday, urging people to support this 'sensitive' cause.

Die Morina
Pristina Photo: Facebook page of CEL

Kosovo's Centre for Equality and Liberty, CEL, the Centre for Social Group Development, CSGD and some other organizations will stage the first ever Pride Parade in Kosovo, called “In the name of Love”, next week in Pristina.

The parade will be held next Tuesday, starting from the Pristina's main Skenderbeg Square and ending at Zahir Pajaziti Square.

Blert Morina, from CEL, said he hoped people in the socially conservative mainly Muslim country would lend their support, despite it being a “sensitive” topic.

Morina told BIRN that since it was all about human rights, everyone who supported that cause should join the march.

“We are aware that we are dealing with a sensitive cause, and this may be reflected in hesitation to join and support the LGBT community, but we feel very positive, based on the reactions we have received since the event was made public,” Morina said.

Although this will be Kosovo's first Pride Parade, LGBTI rights activists have organised other marches over last three years so, according to Morina, this is just a continuation of those efforts.

While those marches in Pristina draw support from important political leaders, the mood of the general population remains far behind that of the politicians.

In theory, Kosovo's Law against Discrimination, which parliament approved in 2004, guarantees the rights of sexual minorities.

In reality, members of the LGBT community in Kosovo remain subject to heavy discrimination - more by society than the politicians.

If a gay couple wishes to marry in Kosovo, it is also not clear if this is possible or not. The constitution says that "everyone enjoys the right to marry" but the Law on Family specifies that those who enter into a marriage must be of different sexes.

Morinia said they could not “predict at this point” whether they will face a hostile reaction from the public.

He added that the organizers were in contact with the police and the support they had received was satisfactory.

So far, they have not received confirmation of whether either Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj or President Hashim Thaci will join the Parade. 

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