ADDED ON: 04/16/2022

Kosovo’s underground LGBTQ community leads ‘double life’

4/15/22 | France 24

The Kosovo couple have hidden their relationship for eight years. Whenever they meet in public, common friends are invited in order not to raise suspicion. They also hesitate to even post on social media at the same time. “It’s difficult to live a double life,” Flamur — an assumed name he chose fearing potential stigma — told AFP. “We constantly take care not to be noticed.” Despite its pro-Western leadership, Kosovo is a largely conservative society and homophobia is widespread. More than 90 percent of the population are Muslim. While recent surveys are unavailable, a 2015 study of the US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) found Kosovo to be the most homophobic country in the Balkans, a region that is not known for tolerant views on sexuality. More than 80 percent of LGBT Kosovars interviewed said they had been subjected to psychological abuse because of their sexual orientation, while 29 percent reported suffering physical violence. Last month, there was a glimmer of hope for change. Kosovo’s leftist Prime Minister Albin Kurti pushed for a law that would recognise same-sex civil partnerships, but the motion was overwhelmingly rejected by the parliament. Even many representatives of Kurti’s Vetevendosje party voted against, including a hijab-wearing MP, Labinote Demi Murtezi, who called every non-heterosexual relationship “depravity and moral degeneration”.


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