Arberi

The Pride Parade is held in Tirana

LGBTQ

In Albania, the parade of the LGBT+ community took place for the twelfth time. Members of this community and activists marched in Tirana from the Reja installation towards the Prime Minister's Office and the Presidency.

The motto of this Pride Parade was "Each color, one family".

Activist Xheni Karaj said that this week has been accompanied by hate speech from this community and said that the Pride Parade was an opportunity to show that "we are not a threat to anyone".

"We have been described as a threat to the family, while we are part of everyone's family. We are not a threat to anyone's family. We want to convey messages of unity and love to people, so that they understand that, at the end of the day, we are like everyone else and are part of the family", she said during the Pride Parade.

On May 17, on the Day against Homophobia, a symbolic wedding ceremony took place on the terrace of Tirana's municipality, where a British pastor married two women from the LGBT+ community. Edlira Mara and Alba Ahmetaj have been together for 14 years. They have two daughters and have been trying to register their family with two mothers for years.

The Family Code in Albania does not allow marriage between persons of the same sex, however, the two women submitted a request for a marriage declaration to the civil status office. They said that they based the request on Article 53 of the Constitution of Albania, where it is emphasized that "everyone has the right to marry and have a family".

Their marriage ceremony, although symbolic and without legal value, caused many debates, but also protests. On Friday, May 24, citizens, activists and representatives of religious communities protested in "Skënderbej" square in Tirana and marched towards the Prime Minister's office, opposing same-sex marriages, which they called "destruction of the family".

Also this week, many citizens have signed the "manifesto of life" petition, drawn up by representatives of family protection organizations, representatives of religious communities and civil society activists. This petition opposes the newest initiative of the Albanian Government for changes in the Law on Sexual and Reproductive Health that allows surrogacy. The organizers of Friday's protest and the initiators of the petition said that after collecting the signatures, they will submit the petition to the Assembly and ask not to vote on the changes in the law.

Referring to the debates caused in public opinion in Albania by the symbolic wedding between two women, Xheni Karaj during the Pride Parade, said that hate speech debates do not help society.
Members of the LGBT community and activists who participated in the parade asked that this community be respected and not prejudiced or threatened.

During the parade, activists held banners that read "Every color, one family" and the colorful flag that represents this community. The ambassador of the European Union in Tirana, Silvio Gonzato, and that of the United Kingdom, Alastair King Smith, also joined the march.

During this week in Albania, several activities were held within the framework of days against homophobia. One of them was the 15th Diversity Festival for LGBT+ rights supporting equality, respect, and diversity of human beings. 30 people and institutions or organizations that have publicly supported the providers of this community were also evaluated./REL