In-depth | LGBTQ+

Tirana Pride in photos

By , - 25.05.2023

On May 20, Tirana called on people to “open their hearts” against hatred.

On Saturday, May 20, under the slogan “Open your heart,” the Pride Parade was held in Tirana, as part of Pride Week.

Under a big rainbow flag, the streets of Tirana were filled with hundreds of locals, activists, LGBTQ+ people and allies.

Amid the colors, songs and dance, the participants protested. Those at the front of the parade held a large banner, demanding access to health care for transgender people which in the LGBTQ+ acronym are represented with letter T. In addition to their demands for the protection of transgender people, who are among the most oppressed in the world, the protestors stopped in front of the Prime Minister of Albania’s office where they demanded that institutions protect the lives of LGBTQ+ citizens and keep their promises.

Albania, similar to other countries in the region, continues to be a hostile country for LGBTQ+ people. With the absence of institutional protection and discrimination that is present everywhere in society, LGBTQ+ lives continue to be devalued.

According to a report by the organization Aleanca LGBT, which lists the findings of a survey carried out in Albania in 2020, close to 98% of LGBTQ+ people surveyed reported that during the last year they experienced insults, ridicule and persistent humiliation because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

79% of respondents said that they had the intention of leaving Albania. One reason given was feeling constrained or unaccepted due to sexual orientation and gender identity. Respondents also cited the lack of access to education, health, employment due to their identity and that they feel discriminated against by state institutions.

“Today we demand real commitment from the state to protect the existence, dignity and well-being of each one of us. This journey cannot be made by stifling the most vulnerable voices in society,” said activist Xheni Karaj in front of the Prime Minister’s Office in Tirana, calling for justice, protection and equality for LGBTQ+ people.

“Do you dare to open your heart and march on? We do!” said the organizers of the parade. Hundreds of people joined them, to open their hearts against hatred.

Photos and feature image: Atdhe Mulla / K2.0.