GLXY Travel Guide - Exploring the LGBT Scene in Kosovo, Priština

19 Aug, 2017
In this article you can find out why and when to visit Kosovo & Priština, how friendly is this city for LGBT persons, where to go for gay-friendly dinner options, bars, clubs and other venues, what are the most important LGBT events of the year not to be missed; how to meet locals; and other interesting and important practical details.

About Kosovo and Priština

Kosovo is the smallest land in Southeast Europe. Relief consists of two bigger buds: Kosovo (middle height 500 m) in the east and Metohija (middle height 350 m) in the west. The bottom of the burial ground is covered with tertiary and quarterback deposits. They are surrounded by high mountains: Damned (highest peak of Kosovo is Đeravica, 2656 m), Žljeb (2365 m) and Mokro Gorje (2155 m) in the north and Šar mountain (2604 m) in the southwest. The mountains are made of Mesozoic limestone, Paleozoic shrubs and eruptive rocks. The climate is submediterranean to mountain. The middle January temperature is 0-2 ° C, and mid-July 23-25 ​​° C. Average annual rainfall ranges from 500 to 1,000 mm. The rivers belong to the Adriatic (Belog Drima), Black (Tara, Piva, Lim, Ibar) and Aegean Sea (the Nerodimka River joins the Aegean and the Black Sea bifurcation).
Since the end of the war in Kosovo and the signing of the military-technical agreement in Kumanovo in 1999, as well as the adoption of Resolution No. 1244 SB, Kosovo is under UN administration (UNMIK), part of which has since February 16, 2008 assumed the European mission Union called Euleks.

Pristina is the main and largest city of Kosovo, a UN-administered territory, which declared independence from Serbia. Pristina is the administrative, cultural, educational and economic center of the country. It is the headquarters of UNMIK. The population of Pristina is about 200,000, while the wider city area has around 470,000 inhabitants. The ethnic majority are Albanians, while the minorities are Serbs, Bosniaks, Roma and Turks. Pristina has its own university and international airport.

LGBT situation

In Kosovo, the LGBT community is still invisible, and has been awakened very slowly for the last couple of years. Until 2012, LGBT activism in Kosovo was almost invisible, making this country the last place in the region when it comes to their struggle to improve the position of LGBT people. After the founding of a new organization (Libertas, later changed to Center for Equality and Liberty) and reactivating Qesha, it can be said that the LGBT community in Kosovo began to move from the dead point. This process takes place slowly and without strategic guidance, which is not surprising given the very difficult social situation in Kosovo. Extremely traditional society (including the LGBT community), huge unemployment (over 40%), language barriers in relation to neighboring countries, as well as the extremely high level of violence that has hitherto been suffocated by any attempt to vis-a-vis LGBT people, led to this situation. 17. 06. 2017. was a first pride parade held, and interestingly, it was made outside the view of broader public. The organizers wanted to avoid an incident in a country where 90 percent of the two million people living in Muslim religion lived.

In addition to members of the LGBT community, the center of Pristina was passed by President Hashim Thaci, senior political officials and diplomats, including US and UK ambassadors. That means that the political structures are quite prone to promoting LGBT rights, and that Kosovo activists have an easy approach at least to their political structures. Also, Zhaci was a part of initial secret organization of the first Pride parade, and that says a lot.

LGBT information

Portal Kosovo 2.0 that deals with culture and politics and periodically publishes magazines with controversial issues shaken by Kosovo society (religion, corruption, etc.) and published a magazine dealing with sex and sexuality this year. The promotion of this magazine was violently interrupted by the twenty Wahabis who inflicted and demolished the premises of the Red Hall Youth Center in Pristina, after which a group of over 300 fans, Wahhabis and other extremists gathered, and violently prevented people from leaving the space Evacuated by the police. Subsequently, a group of fans fired into the Libertas premises and overcame one person. My biggest fear after these events was that the LGBT community would pull even more into the mouse hole but, fortunately, it did not happen. Since then, the LGBT community has been more active but still inadequate and brave to move things from a dead point to a more sensitive and structured way, especially when it comes to freedom of assembly.

Unfortunately, there is no only LGBT bars and clubs, but since Kosovo and specifically Pristina is a field where a lot of international professionals live, we are sure that just by asking, some information could be found. Just don’t make the media convince you there are no queers there.