LGBTI scene/culture in Albania is getting more thriving by having organized so far six Gay Rides and being the only country in the Western Balkan with a shelter for homeless LGBTI youth.
What makes even more exciting the LGBT scene in Albania is the “drag queen” culture being promoted by trans community which is recently being more vocal than ever. On 23rd December the third Miss Trans Albania took place in a disco bar in the capital city, Tirana.
“Serafina” and “Lola” , two of the competitors transgender promoted the activity “Miss Trans Albania” by appearing in a TV-morning show, alongside Xheni Karaj, the very first girl to come out publicly as a lesbian. Even though it is the third Trans Beauty contest, the venue was kept uncovered due to security issues.
With sugary coated pop songs blasting throughout the evening contest, the 7 competitors performed their catwalk without forgetting to wink anytime they came closer to the Jury panel. The Jury announced the winner and therefore the third “Miss Trans” in Albania went successfully well without any recorded incident.
“It does not matter who got the Beauty crown, I am happy that we are being visible as trans community because we deserve it. We belong to the society” said Lola who participated in this beauty contest.
Admittedly 2017 was a significant year for the trans community in Albania mainly due to some trans members extending their media appearance. For instance Lola and Serafina have been invited in different workshops/panels to represent trans and sex workers community. The most recent was a panel discussion on the intersection between Roma people and LGBTIQ+ community organized by “Civil Rights Defenders” in Albania.
“Trans people should not be only creatures of the night. They have the right to be themselves during the day as well. We have the right to the Sun!" said Lola during a heart-wrenching speech about situation of trans people in Albania.
Albania is one of only few European countries to explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Nevertheless according to a 2017 study conducted from UNDP “Being LGBTI in Eastern Europe”, results showed that transgender people in Albania still face backlash against them in their everyday lives.