Albania IDAHO Report 2013

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In the capital Tirana a whole host of events marked the year’s commemorations. Activists hosted a Second Festival of Diversity Against Homophobia on May 17. The 2nd annual IDAHO ‘Gay Bike (P) Ride’ took off successfully through the streets of the capital, flashmob actions were held as well as a series of workshops on contemporary policy-issues and lesbian/women’s rights. The city also received the innovative Swedish exhibition ‘Article 1′. Though after the bike ride, participants were attacked with tear gas, local activists dubbed the year’s events a success – and an improvement on last year (when they were attacked mid-ride).

All of the events in Tirana, Albania were organised jointly by three groups: Pink Embassy, Aleanca LGBT, and United for LGBT Cause (ProLGBT).

IDAHO Gay Bike (P) Ride, Tirana

Dozens of LGBT activists biked on May 17th in the main Boulevard of Tirana with bicycles from Ecovolis, wearing T-shirts that read “Gay (P) Ride Against Homophobia”.
This was the second time that such an event took place in Albania, but this year the number of participants increased considerably. The LGBT activists biked in boulevard accompanied by the police. With was a culminating event of several activities in the frame of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
Young boys and girls in this cycling were accompanied by Mr. Totozani, the Albanian Ombudsman. Ms. Baraku the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner and representatives of the international community.
Local activist Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei reports: ‘the Second Annual Gay Ride, which became basically our Albanian take on the pride events that are held around the world, turned out to be a great success, without smoke bombs, and many participants from the community as well as straight allies. Excuse my jubilant tone, but it is quite something when you’re able to pull off biking around on the main boulevard of Tirana, escorted by the police, with people applauding on the sidewalk and massive (and positive!) media coverage in a Balkan country…’
Footage of the ride can be viewed here:

Gay Ride Tirana – Pedalim kunder Homofobise (17 May 2013)

In a more minor repeat of last year’s events, after the event was finished, a group of LGBT activists were attacked with tear gas explosives at the premises of a bar in the vicinity of the Academy of Arts, by two unidentified young men. Gerven Oei gives a positive spin to the incident ‘Ok ok and people did throw smoke bombs at us, but only after the Gay Ride’.
Albania1Bike ride participants attacked with tear gas explosives. Source.

Article 1 Exhibition

Tirana also received the Swedish exhibition “Article 1″ (in partnership with the Unstraight Museum of Sweden). Local activist Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei hailed the event a success: ‘The exhibition “Art. 1″ consisted of several exhibits provided by different Swedish museum, surrounding the centerpiece with objects and stories from the Albanian LGBT community, as well as prints from the previous “Kukafshehti” exhibition. When first conceived we hardly thought it possible to enter such a state institution with an exhibition on the lives and loves of the community, but in the end we were met with hospitality, a great (though initially hesitant) staff, and we managed to hang three huge banners featuring the Swedish “Queer Queen” Christina smoking a pipe immediately below Mother Albania holding her rifle. The Albanian LGBT community had entered the state! The two-weeks exhibition was accompanied by film screenings of “Parada” and “How To Survive a Plague,” panel discussions on the relation between art, media, and the LGBT community, lesbianism and feminism, and the role of art institutions in representing “minor” histories. An enormous amount of visitors came to see the exhibition and attended the panels.’
Activists hail Article 1 Exhibition a success ! Source.
For more info see: //

Straight Allies Presented with Awards

Activists also joined together to recognise excellence in fighting discrimination, amongst well-known ‘straight allies’ in Albania. Before May 17, activists created a short list of 12 prominent allies in the public eye. And at the ceremony itself, gave awards to all 12 finalists.
You can find info about the 12 prizes, including who was nominated and why, at the Historia Ime news portal:
The ceremony is also available to watch online in HD:
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