Love stories and "forbidden" objects at the National Museum of Albania

Published: May 15, 2013

They had never thought that there would be so many participants. They did not know whether to blush, feel embarrassed or not, but they felt this way only for a few moments, because it did not take long for them to realize that none of the participants judged them…  “Art 1”  the exhibition organized by the LGBT Alliance was expected with curiosity, yesterday at the National History Museum.

Beside community members, at the lobby of the National Historical Museum were present also representatives of the diplomatic corps in Tirana, various NGOs and civil society. At the opening ceremony there was also the representative of the European Union in Tirana Mr.Ettore Sequi, the Ambassador of the United States of America Mr. Alexander Arvizu, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Sweden, who also supported the event Mr. Patrick Svensen etc, but there was no Albanian government representatives or any other representatives from any registered Albanian party.

This exhibition, which has taken the name of the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, opens the week of activities that coincides with May 17-th, International Day Against Homophobia, in commemoration of the removal of homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO). While the event was held in the lobby of the Museum, outside there was a large number of police officers to insure the safety, even though nothing happened for them to intervene until the end of the ceremony.

The Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of Sweden in Tirana, Patrick Svensen, said that because of social injustice, the LGBT community has been invisible until nowadays, its voice and needs are not heard, but that should change. According to him, in Albania some good steps are taken in this direction, the improvement of the legal framework, but when it comes to implementation, according to him there are still problems. Present at the opening ceremony of "Art 1" was also the Ombudsman Mr. Igli Totozani who used a quote from William Faulkner "to live today and be against equality because of race, colour or sexual orientation is like living in Alaska and hating the snow". He listed all the efforts that have been made with regards to the protection of LGBT rights, the improvement of the legal framework, the amendments of the Criminal Code but also the improvement of the curricula in schools etc.

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