GLXY Travel Guide- Exploring the LGBT Scene in Tirana, Albania

05 Aug, 2017
Albania is a small country in the southwest of Balkan peninsula, it is spreading along the Adriatic shore and has many beautiful beaches. The capital city is Tirana with a bit more than 600 000 citizens. Tirana is one of the fastest changing cities in Europe, new buildings have been growing like the grass after rain. Just as the city grows, the social life opportunities are also growing. Reviewers and visitors find it quite difficult to define whether Tirana is a gay friendly place or not.

The country, as it is, is quite conservative, but it is not difficult to notice how open, kind and generous are the people of the city. If you ask them about the quality of their people, you could bet to get that answer. And why not, to go for such a heartwarming treat. It is very easy to communicate to people, mostly in English and very often Italian. If you are about to visit Tirana for the first time, when you get there, do your best to cruise the city, because there is such thing in Tirana as "cruising areas". Definitely sounds interesting.

LGBT situation: Albania has an Anti-discrimination legislation that bans both discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation. Albania has ratified Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, moreover Albania was a signatory to the 2007 UN Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Albania was rakned at 19th place in terms of LGBT rights out of 49. European countries which were observed in 2015. by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexsual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).
Albania also has pride parade that is held annually in Tirana, and goes by the name Tirana Pride. The initiative tries to raise public support for equal rights of LGBTI people, their families and supporters. It is a great event celebrating equality, love, human dignity and body integrity, but also a big protest since Albania still doesn't allow same-sex partners to get married.

There are two LGBT activist organizations:

1. Pink Embassy/ProLGBT (PE)
2. Alliance Against Discrimination (AAD)

Both of the organizations are founded and formed in 2009, and the same year it was the first time Albania had a representative of LGBT's in civil society sector. The same year, organizations did a range of actions and events for IDAHOT (International day Against Homophobia and Transphobia). The events were photo exhibitions of LGBT's, concerts, documentaries, educational seminars. They had posters and leaflets being shared, and also they did a short video for Albanian television. Pink Embassy was officially registered in 2011 as an non-governmental organization, and since then it has done a lot for LGBT community in Albania. It is offering a variety of services, such as safe space for people to discuss their sexual orientation and gender identity, they are the organizers of the parade, and also they do well as a support advocacy mechanism. First parade was held in 2012, and it was just a formal walk to the state's ombudsman's office for human right, where they brought a Rainbow flag to Prime Minister's office. That was quite provoking. Also, there was no violence in the parades. The parade is being held in May. The Organization for the Rights of gay People in Albania held an annual free-of-charge parade, while the opposition in that country was preparing for protests in the Tunisia invasion that had nothing to do with the parade. A large number of cyclists with colorful balloons and flags began a 1.6 kilometer long ride passing by the tents that members of the opposition set in front of the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama's office.

There are a lot of LGBT and LGBT friendly bars/restaurants/places to see:

1. Buda Bar- If you're in the city, this is a must see place. It is one of the few openly gay friendly clubs. Beer is quite cheap and good, and everybody is welcome to hit the dancefloor over a beat or two of dance and house music. Full of LGBT's!
2. Wintergarden- It is placed in the street Rr Skenderbeg. Go there for amazing winter lanscape and summer dancing parties in the garden.,608189601
3. Radio- The street you're looking for is Ismai Qemali Str.29/1- Quite a surprise treat! Go curious.-,608189607
4. Kahlua- Rr. 4 Shkurti-,608189606
5. Bunker 1944- This is a must visit bar, bar that has been recognized by the public as the best gay friendly bar in the city.
6. Kahlua- The street you're looking for is Rr. 4 Shkurti
7. Converse- The street you're looking for is Vaso Pasha
8. Lollypop- This is a place to bring your dancing shoes, and to give them a time of a life. The street is Pjeter Bogdani Str. 32