This year, the Pride Parade will start from the Rinia Park and will continue along the Deshmoret e Kombit Boulevard, following the Ibrahim Rugova Street and returning to the Pride Park where other activities will continue.
This year, we celebrate the diversity and pride of being selfless and unconditional lovers, but at the same time we are protesting, because Albania is neither a better place nor a fair one with all its citizens. The LGBTI + community in Albania reported 421 cases of physical and psychological violence only in 2018. A study on access to justice institutions, reveals that more than 53% of LGBTI respondents report violence and discrimination and this figure goes up to 84% for cases of LGBTI + youth who have been exposed in the family or other similar situations.
The LGBTI+ youth are 10 times more at risk of dropping out of school because of bullying. LGBTI+ minors, even when they find the courage not to abandon school, are molested and exposed to violence every day and school administrations do nothing to protect them.
In other cases, children who drop out of school because of bullying become targeted and potential victims of trafficking as the state fails to protect them flagrantly. Only 1% of LGBTI+ in Albania have the opportunity to be open with their families. But many who make this step, are expelled from home and continue to be threatened by family members even after being expelled from home.
The only option for these teenagers is STREHA, which is the only and unique residential service where LGBTI+ youth can seek help. All the cases that last year have been reported to the Police and the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination not only were not taken seriously, but have remained unanswered even to this day.
In 2018, members of the LGBT community faced discrimination in receiving health care. 16 Transgender and gay individuals received compulsory service only after they were accompanied by staff members and activists from the Alliance and Streha.
Those in employment are reported to be insulted and raped by colleagues and supervisors. 39 such cases have been denounced only last year. Institutional discrimination is becoming more problematic day by day, marginalizing and further complicating everyday lives of LGBT+ individuals. In the wake of the decision to start negotiations with the European Union, we recall the legal obligation that Albania has as a candidate country for the protection of human rights and human dignity. Laws remain in print but do not apply.
Our struggle for justice shows that the LGBTI community does not even victimize, as they refuse to become victims. This struggle for justice is in itself a force of action and awareness. So we dare and will continue to dare, even for those who cannot join us.