Pristina Pride: a protest or a celebration?

During June 6 – 9, the capital city of Kosovo is welcoming LGBTI+ activists and supporters for the 6th Pride Week. This year’s slogan “EDHE N’SHTET, EDHE N’FAMILJE” (“We’re in the state, we’re in the family”) represents the presence and the denied existence of LGBTI+ persons in both, state and families. Moreover, it is also a message that reflects recent political events related to rights of LGBTI+ community in Kosovo. 

Many countries in the world, particularly in Europe, have achieved certain rights and freedoms, which allow them to make Pride a celebration of love and acceptance. Unfortunately, this is still not a case of Kosovo, where community has been struggling for acceptance from families and from the state for years.

Even though according to the constitution it is illegal to discriminate a person based on sexual orientation, not many actions have been made in order to support the community. Earlier this year the Civil Code was proposed in the assembly of Kosovo, which included a paragraph stating that same-sex unions are allowed, but will be regulated by a separate law. However, many members of parliament were not in favour of it, and the draft did not pass. The community felt neglected and frustrated, as the result of homophobic statements and discussions, caused by the proposal.

Political topics in focus

These recent events bring a special meaning to this year’s slogan. “We’re in the state” – because of lack of support from institutions, and “we’re in the family” – because of existing threats and violence that LGBTI+ persons experience even in their closest circles.

In a place where the society and the family are heteronormative and patriarchal, the state must provide security for persons who do not feel safe from the oppressive mentality these two institutions produce.

“Political parties, government, and the presidency, on the other hand, do not prioritize LGBTIQ + rights; instead, they use queer persons to gain power. While they appear progressive in closed roundtables with internationals and civil societies, they try to avoid discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in campaigns and communication with voters. This year the Pride Parade, in addition to celebrating, returns to its essence of protesting,” says one of the organisers.

Diversity of agenda

This year Pride Week in Pristina includes a number of various events all over the city, such as a conference, street action, discussions, exhibitions, and parties. The diverse spectrum of topics and activities gives an opportunity to attract diverse audience and create a significant impact.
The Pride Parade itself will take place on 9 June and will become the highlight and culmination of the programme.

Detailed programme of the week can be found at the Pride official website.

We contribute!

Civil Rights Defenders has been a part of the organising group of Pristina Pride since its very first Pride back in 2017. Throughout the years, the organisation has supported many activities of Pristina Pride. This year, besides being part of an advocating group that is pushing for a civil code that includes same sex marriages, Civil Rights Defenders was a part of the organising group for Pristina Pride, fully supported the creation and design of Pristina Pride website, and has contributed to organising various events that are happening during the week.

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