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  • People take part in the second lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride Parade in Pristina, Kosovo October 10, 2018.

    People take part in the second lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride Parade in Pristina, Kosovo October 10, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 October 2018

More than 80 percent of Kosovo's LGBT community interviewed by the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) said they had been subjected to psychological abuse because of their sexual orientation, while 29 percent reported being victims of physical violence.

Hundreds of people took part in a gay parade in Pristina on Wednesday, demanding "freedom" and "equal rights" in patriarchal and Muslim majority Kosovo.

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Waving rainbow flags and banners bearing the motto of the parade "In the Name of Freedom," they marched through Pristina's main street, saying they were "walking for those who can not join us."

"Today we are united to seek freedom and show society that we have equal rights with others," Lend Mustafa, a 22-year-old transsexual man, told the crowd.

Organizers of the march said it "aims to raise awareness, empower LGBT people and increase visibility in Kosovo society for different sexual orientations and gender identities".

Despite a liberal constitution, many Kosovo gays are not coming out publicly as LGBT activists warn of growing difficulties in defending their rights.

"The main challenge is that we live in such conservative families that they don't get it that a lot of their children are part of this community," said Rina Krasniqi, 20, wrapped in a rainbow flag. "They don't support their children, using hate words against them."

A 2015 study singled out Kosovo as the most homophobic country in the Balkans, with LGBT people facing discrimination in all areas of life.

Unlike the previous year, when Pristina hosted its first gay pride parade, European Integration Minister Dhurata Hoxha was the only Kosovo official to attend the event, which was held under heavy police presence.

But some foreign diplomats, including ambassadors of France, Germany and a special EU envoy, did take part, marching at the front of the parade.


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