Kosovo hosted a heavily-guarded Pride event today (10 October).
Despite threats by anti-LGBTI groups, the capital Pristina turned rainbow for the second-ever LGBTI march in the disputed territory.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community gathered in the city center. Allies and political authorities were also there to back up the event.
Kosovar Minister of European Integration Dhurata Hoxha and Pristina Mayor Shpend Ahmeti joined several hundred other people at the event, whose theme was In the Name of Freedom.
The head of the European Union office in Kosovo, Natalia Apostolova, was among the participants.
The parade kicked off at Pristina’s Skanderbeg Square amid increased police presence. It then ended some 500 meters away, at Zahir Pajaziti Square.
LGBTI rights in Kosovo
The state in the Balkan peninsula has taken some steps towards equality throughout the years.
In 2004, the country passed the Anti-Discrimination Law, banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The following year, the law was extended to include gender identity.
However, trans people can’t legally change their gender, even after undergoing sex-reassignment surgery. Moreover, there is no legal recognition of same-sex couples.
Kosovo’s first Pride
The first official LGBTI parade took place last year. Unlike small previous marches held over the previous years, it was announced in advance.