Albanian gay organisations on Friday announced plans to hold the country’s first ever gay pride parade in Tirana on May 17, a move immediately slammed by a government minister.
“May 17 will be a special day … the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) flag will be raised for the first time in Tirana,” Altin Hazizaj of the Pink Embassy organisation said in a statement sent to media.
But Albania’s deputy defense minister and the leader of the royalist party, Ekrem Spahiu, was quick to slam the plan. “My only commentary on this gay parade is that they should be beaten with truncheons,” he said.
Albania’s traditional patriarchal society is deeply homophobic, and human rights organisations say gays face violence and discrimination.
After Spahiu’s outburst Albanian gay organisations said they would take the minister to court.
“This is a call to violence, and we will ask through our lawyers that Spahiu be convicted, in accordance with Albanian law, to a prison sentence of up to five years,” Kristi Pinderi spokesman for a gay anti-discrimination organisation said.
Albania passed a law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual preference in 2010.
(A member of the LGBT community holds a “rainbow flag” during a rally in 2010. Albanian gay organisations announced plans to hold the country’s first ever gay pride parade in Tirana on May 17, a move immediately slammed by a government minister. AFP Photo/Luis Robayo)