Pristina celebrated the International day against homo- and transphobia (IDAHOT) merrily on Sunday, 17th of May. The event Walk and Dance against Homophobia organized by three NGO's Center for Social Emancipation (QESh), Center for Equality and Liberty (CEL) and Center for Social Group Development (CSGD) gathered together almost 150 participants for a march against homo- and transphobia. Ms.Anne Meskanen, Chargée d'Affaires of the Embassy of Finland, the US Ambassador Mrs. Tracey Ann Jacobson and the UK Ambassador Mr. Ruairi O'Connell were among the participants. In addition the populace and many organizations showed their support for the LGBT-community by attending this important event.
The march started from the Kosovo government building leading to the Zahir Pajati -square. After the march the powerful speeches and live-music upheld the laid-back and happy mood. The marchers were given IDAHOT-shirts and the march was led by the NGO representatives with a big rainbow flag.
The Executive Director of QESh, Vlora Krasniqi, thanked the participants for standing up against the homophobia in Kosovo. Later in the evening Kosovo's government building was lit with the colors of rainbow for the second time in its history. The rainbow flag was also flapping outside the Embassy of Finland and Sweden on Sunday.
The activities were continued on Monday by a conference on realization of the rights of LGBT community in Kosovo. The discussion was led by Habit Hajredini, the director of Office on Good Governance and the chair of the Advisory group for the LGBT rights. The head of the EU Office Samuel Žbogar commended the civil society for its courage to organize the march and to visibly promote the rights of sexual minorities. Žbogar emphasized that discrimination based on sexual orientation is not part of a modern society and that everyone, not only the civil society, must work for tolerance in the Kosovan society.
All the speakers underlined that despite the successful march, the work is not done yet. The project coordinator of CSGD Agim Margilaj told about incident that happened to him just few days earlier. He was insulted and discriminated by the Pristina city official. On the other hand the executive director of CEL Rajmonda Sylbije commended the good cooperation with the police during the Sunday's march.
Ms. Anne Meskanen highlighted the responsibility of Kosovo's government to show its support for the LGBT-community and to openly speak for the sexual minorities. "The rights of the LGBTI community are not something that could be negotiated – there is no need for debate since we are talking about basic human rights," Meskanen stated.
The laws regarding sexual minorities in Kosovo are very progressive in comparison to the developmental stage of the country. The Kosovo constitution and the anti-discrimination law forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation. In addition the constitution also states that everyone enjoys the right to marry. The problem is rather the negative attitudes of the judiciary and health care professionals, the poor implementation of the laws and deficient mechanisms for reporting offences.