arfafgeg Up until the mid 90’s, if you’re openly gay in Albania you’ll be sent to prison. Our greek colleagues travelled to Albania and met with homosexuals who’ve suffered from bigotry and violence as a part of life in one of the Europe’s most homophobic countries. This is “Gay Albania”. I was starting this in a new formal group of around 4 or 5 girls in the beginning. But after 2 years then we with the support of many like international organizations with the help of civil right defenders, we had the possibility to open this center that has been like working as a outreach and support. There are these centers for mostly for young LGBT people from 18 to 25 years old. Most of people that frequent center for example had tried at least once to kill themselves. They think that the stigma is big like you are shaming the surname of the family you are shaming your family so it’s a question of honor. So I think that when we reach out to the families to make them understand that there is not “they” and “us”. Then we will have a victory in this country. We were lucky to have some stupid guys throwing some explosive I say we were lucky because it created a debate you know People for the first time saw that, yes, there is a problem with this people. There is a problem with this community because until that moment, everyone was saying “No one descriminates them” “Nothing goes wrong with them” “They can be in their home, inside their home and do whatever they want” But for the first time they saw this reaction from some part of the society. The year after that was a sunny day. And it was… They were around 80 or 90 people taking the bicycles. The problem here we have is to to implement to those. If you see the situation only by checking the laws, Albania is far more progressive than Greece. Do you think that the gay people are living better here than in Greece? I don’t think so. So the biggest challenge that the movement is facing right now in Albania is domestic violence and the reasons why we started to work with the shelter was exactly this one : “How are we going to address domestic violence ?” which is not reported to the police and which is hidden violence. What guys say about the club Yeah, it’s difficult to take it in Albania a club like that. Not because the LGBT life in Albania is dangerous but most of the guys there are younger and their family, maybe doesn’t know that they are LGBT community. I want to force the How to say… to make more stronger the transgender community. In the beginning when they came in my club I created a room for them to dress there. And now they are coming from their house, coming dressed like a woman. And this for me is a good thing because now they don’t have more fear like they had in the beginning you know.