From: Alice Taylor
Albania’s LGBT Pride Parade to be Live-Streamed Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Tirana Pride will be held virtually for the first time this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Rather than cancelling this year’s event, the organisers decided to reimagine it instead

“On 15 May, we will realise for the first time the Pride Parade virtually, where we will share messages and raise our voice for our rights and the LGBTI+ communities rights in Albania.”

They added; “the parade is not just a moment in the calendar, but it’s the heart of social solidarity that has no isolation mechanism to stop it from moving forward.”

Organisers compared the ongoing isolation due to COVID-19 to the personal isolation that many members of the community are forced into. 

“For some, it was difficult to leave the house. As we imagine the home as the safest place in the world, for many members of the LGBTI+ community, family life is even more dangerous due to systemic violence that takes place inside those walls.”

They reiterated their commitment to the battle to “tear down the wall that isolates us from ourselves, from each other, and from society.”

“Being LGBTI + means much more than the colour that represents you in the flag of diversity, than the gender or sexual orientation, yours or your partner’s choice. Being LGBTI + today means having the responsibility to keep the courage alive, even realizing that transient adversity like a viral pandemic cannot stop us from fighting for a full future, for anyone,” organisers said.

100 individuals will take part in a Zoom parade which will be live-streamed across social media networks. The parade will be broadcast on 17 May to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

Participants will include EU Ambassador Luigi Soreca, Kristi Pinderi, Swedish Ambassador Elsa Hastad, CoE Head of Mission Juttu Gutzkow, Dutch Ambassador Guusje Korthals Altes, and Ombudsman Erinda Bellanca, amongst others.

The organisers and participants are expected to make a statement regarding the government’s plan to demolish the National Theatre, in a show of support for those who want to protect it.