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Anti-gay academic books to be banned in Albania

Following a complaint by LGBT rights group the Albanian government will remove from the market all anti-gay academic books
Following advocacy work by Albanian LGBT rights group led by Altin Hazizaj, Albania banned anti-gay academic books

The Albanian office of the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination (CPD) has announced that it will take of the market all academic texts which discriminate against the LGBT community and update any others where same-sex relations and identities are discussed.

The announcement (24 December) followed a complaint by The Pink Embassy/LGBT Pro Albania rights group complained to the CPD on this matter.

The complaint submitted on 7 November 2012 also two texts used by the faculties of medicine and law in all Albanian universities which contained prejudice against the LGBT community.

In its decision, the CPD found that two text books were prejudiced and most be amended.

The first, entitled ‘Legal Medicine’, Tirana 2007, enlisted homosexuality along ‘sexual perversions most commonly encountered’ such as fetishism, exhibitionism, sadomasochism, zoophiles and necrophilia.

The second text book, also entitled ‘Legal Medicine’ of Arbёria Publishing House stated that ‘sexual perversions are avoidance from norms of sexual instincts… Some of the most common encountered sexual perversions are: a) Homosexuality, the tendency of having sexual lust for people of the same sex…’

The CPD ruled: ‘such definitions which include homosexuality in the group of sexual perversions make for an inadequate definition, non scientific and discriminatory because of sexual orientation and gender identity. Introducing students with such concepts, creates wrong perceptions on this group and affects the education of students as future lawyers and doctors’.

The CPD ruled that the texts are discriminatory and ordered its authors to modify the text or else the books will be removed from the market all libraries of Albanian institutions.

The CPD demanded that the authors should submit a report about the actions they will undertake within 30 days by presenting also a copy of the revised book; ‘if this decision is not implemented sanctions, as predicted by the law, will follow’.

A statement by Altin Hazizaj, First Embassador of PINK Embassy/LGBT Pro Albania thanked ‘the Office of the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination for the prompt investigation of this case and for taking a just decision which asks for the change of content and in case that is not possible from their removal from market and libraries.

‘Also, PINK Embassy wishes to inform the public opinion that homosexuality has been removed from the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) of the World Health Organization since 1990’.

Speaking with Gay Star News, Hazizaj said: 'This is a great victory for the LGBT community in Albania.

'Three years ago no one would dare to mention the words GAY and RIGHTS.

'We have come a long way and this showes the changes that can take place when community joins forces with other groups to advance the human rights'.

On 4 February 2010, the Albanian Parliament unanimously adopted a comprehensive anti-discrimination law which banned discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The law bans discrimination in all areas, including employment, the provision of goods and services, education, health care, and housing.

Albania is one of few European countries to explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity. 

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