(Non)Binary Gender

Gender (Non)Binary

Donjet Behluli

Culture inevitably affects almost everything gender-related. Since the day a person is born, they’re immediately given a gender identity based on their sex. Then, they’re expected to act and do everything in accordance to the gender they were assigned as babies. These cultural expectations affect almost every aspect of a person’s life; life goals, choice in career, social behavior, activities one engages in, their taste in fashion, their overall interests, etc. basically, a person’s position in society
Unfortunately, our society and its perceptions towards gender are not very inclusive. We are raised to believe that gender is binary and every person is expected to fall into one of the categories: man or woman, but the reality of gender is much more complex and not every person finds themselves in these two categories.

So how are gender binary and nonbinary gender defined?

Binariteti gjinor është ndarja shoqërore ose kulturore e gjinisë në dy kategori mashkullore dhe femërore të ndryshme e të kundërta, dhe ky është një standard në shumicën e kulturave. Kurse identitetet gjinore që s’janë as mashkullore as femërore – pra identitete që ekzistojnë jashta binaritetit gjinor – konsiderohen jo-binare.

Challenges of non-binary people

Existing as a nonbinary person in a society that constantly tries to put you in a box in which you don’t belong and having to meet certain expectations can be very exhausting. Gender binarism can also lead to institutionalized power structures, and people who don't fit into traditional gender norms can face discrimination and harassment in various settings in our society. Disregard, disbelief, condescending encounters, and disrespect are common forms of discrimination experienced by nonbinary people. There are also people who consider gender nonbinary as an attention-seeking trend. But the most common form of discrimination against non-binary people is the usage of incorrect pronouns and misgendering. Misgendering is when someone refers to a person using language that doesn’t align with their gender identity, for example referring to a woman as “he” or calling her “a man”, and this definition applies to individuals of all gender identities.

Are pronouns that important?

By definition, gender pronouns are words that people use to refer to others without using their names. But for many nonbinary people, pronouns are about more than just how they want to be addressed. They’ve become a way to assert an aspect of their gender that’s often unseen or unaligned with others’ assumptions and as a result, pronouns have the capacity to affirm or ignore the reality of a nonbinary individual. So it’s important that we ask and always respect the preferred pronouns of a person. The usage of gender neutral language is also encouraged so that we can be as inclusive as possible and avoid assumptions about someone’s gender, but unfortunately, this can sometimes be challenging because certain languages, like Albanian, don’t have gender neutral pronouns.

Gender as a spectrum

The concept of gender as a spectrum is nothing new only because the discourse around it may be. Non-binary identities have been recognized by cultures and societies all over the world for ages. For generations, indigenous civilizations in Oaxaca State, Mexico, North America and Madagascar have embraced the concept of the "third gender."
For example, The muxes — people born in a male body but who identify as neither woman nor man — live in the small town of Juchitán de Zaragoza in southern Oaxaca State, Mexico and they are well-known in the town and culture as part of an ancient civilization. There’s other cultures like Native North American Navajo culture where transgender individuals are recognized as “two-spirit”, or Sakalava people in Madagascar who recognize a third gender called Sekrata. These historical examples of nonbinary and nonconforming gender have created a crucial foundation for how we interpret gender identity today.

Besides gender, sex isn’t necessarily binary either. One in 2,000 people are born intersex, a term used to describe people who have chromosomes, anatomy, or other sex characteristics that cannot be classified as strictly male or female. So the idea that sex and gender are binary — that everyone falls into one of two categories — is a societal construct. The notion that there’s male and female isn’t incorrect, it’s simply incomplete. Many individuals, whether intersex or not, have a mix of biological features or gender expressions that do not exactly fit into the male or female categories.

Gender identities that are nonbinary

There are many gender identities that fall under the nonbinary umbrella, a couple of them are genderqueer and gender fluid. Genderqueer refers to a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders. Gender fluid refers to a person who does not identify themselves as having a fixed gender and their gender expression or how they feel about themselves may change over time.

Every identity is valid

As our understanding of gender evolves, and through our experience with it, we need to remind ourselves that every identity is valid and we need to remain respectful to others and always embrace our authentic selves.

You Might Find Yourself - Nadav Ben David

The other-self

Shend Badivuku

When we find out that a gay couple have broken up, usually after two or three months of dating, we hear reasons like "he was scared of commitment" or "he needed to work on himself". While these are not reasons that straight couples in particular do not have, LGBTQ + people face a problem that is more deep-rooted.

People in the LGBTQ + community have been told since childhood that being yourself is wrong. Whether from a religious, patriarchal or traditional perspective, in Kosovo these people are subject to misleading, prejudicial, and sometimes traumatic situations, during the journey of finding themselves. And when they finally find it, they realize that their self is not so hospitable in their family and / or social circle. Of course, we are talking about most of the cases, because, thankfully, families welcoming their children of all colors exist.

And when they realize that their self is not welcomed in the family, they create another "self". This "self" is usually the result of their own expectations of that person. Some do well in school, even though the subject they are taking is not at all what they want, but they are afraid of disappointing their parents; some become pushover people, where they do not spoil any of the pleasures or desires of their social circle because they are afraid that they may leave them; some seek counseling in religion, as the only way to mask the guilt they feel within them.

Basically, people in the LGBTQ + community are dealing with a lot of pretense during their lifetime. Some may be convinced that they have made a balance between fake and real life, but in many cases, one influences the other more without the person's knowledge.

They have grown up hearing the words "I love you the way you are", "I love every part of you" or "I love everything about you" from their family and / or friends, but how valuable is that "everything" when that person does not show it to those who say these sentences. How can they love you as you are someone who they do not know at all? They do not know an essential part of yourself? Then it is hard to believe the word "I love you". They do not love you, they love your "other self", it is a consolation that many people in the LGBTQ + community console with.

And if it is very difficult for them to believe the words "I love you" that come from a family or social circle, then why should it be easy to trust a person with whom they are in a romantic relationship with? Are they in love with me, or with an idea I unknowingly created for them? And so, they fall into the abyss of thought-excess, anxiety, paranoia and sometimes even depression. And the Grindr culture, that is, the culture of meeting for sex and no more, and one-night stands is not that it has helped eradicate this phenomenon.

Not that there is anything wrong with these cultures, almost the whole community is part of them, but they offer nothing more than that, a great night and nothing long term. When was the last time you heard that a couple met through Grindr and are now living together in a city-view apartment with their two puppies? It has never been heard in Kosovo, at least.

Maybe it's something that people in the community completely ignore, thinking "since love will not be possible, at least I will enjoy it". Some may be afraid to pursue this "dream" because, as a society, we are generally used to feeling ashamed whenever we do something out of the ordinary, while a healthy romantic relationship between two men / women is extremely utopian. And unfortunately, the social norm for the LGBTQ + community these days is "Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll". Or maybe Rock and Roll should be replaced with Techno. What would help create a comfort and self-confidence in the people of the community would be their media representation, if they made a portrayal of same-sex love in the media, television or movies, where it is presented as something extremely normal. It is true that such content is found from countries outside Kosovo, but it only reminds them how good it is there and not here. The film "Marriage", a Kosovan film that talks about a love triangle, where a man is forced to marry a woman because he is afraid to love another man, has been a stepping stone to this cause, but it should not be stopped there. We need gay, lesbian, trans, non-binary, queer people in the media, television and movies, where they speak Albanian, where they show what it is like to live in Kosovo and have the job of your dreams, your life partner or a life goal.

Press Release: The speech of Mr. Mërgim Lushtaku in the rostrum of the Assembly of Kosovo regarding the institution of marriage is contrary to the values guaranteed by the Constitution of Kosovo

Më 21 tetor 2020, duke e parafrazuar deputetin e Partisë Demokratike të Kosovës, z. Mërgim Lushtakun i cili nga foltorja e Kuvendit të Kosovës thotë që: Shkenca ka vlerësuar që legalizimi i martesës së seksit të njëjtë do të çoj në efekte katastrofike shoqërore dhe familjare…

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Press Release: Comments on social media of some members of the political party “Lëvizja Vetëvendosje” are against the values guaranteed by the Kosovo Constitution

On October 18, 2020, Ms. Leonora Shabani-Bajraktari, assembly member of the Municipal Assembly of Prishtina, referring to the awareness video published by the Youth Initiative for Human Rights - Kosovo where the rights of LGBTI people are promoted, more specifically the right to same-sex marriages, through a Facebook status says such a promotion is "intolerable".

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Pride Parade 2020

Happy Pride Parade to all LGBTI + people and our supporters. Hopefully next year we will all celebrate together in better conditions and with greater involvement.
#Ido#PoDu#Hoću

Moments detached from the Pride Parade 2020

REACTION AGAINST HATE SPEECH IN PUBLIC SHOWS

CEL considers very disturbing the fact that public faces in TV shows have the space to use hate speech against LGBTI + persons. Given the situation in our society, it is very important to pay attention to what content is published by the media because of the role they play in raising awareness in the general population.

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"Security for LGBT"

In the framework of mini grants, a group of young people realized the project "Security for LGBTI" through a research on the need for a safe house for LGBTI people in Kosovo and through the artistic performance published below. This video shows the reality of LGBTI people in Kosovo, the need for a safe place and their experience in our society. Safety at home must belong to every individual and is a fundamental human right and no person deserves to be treated with prejudice and live in an exclusive and discriminatory environment. Home should be a safe place for physical and mental health.

This project was implemented in the framework of Youth Artivists for Change project's mini-grants, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands , managed by Stichting art. 1 and implemented by Cel Kosovo. “Safety for LGBTI” group: Nol Musa, Agon Rexhepi, Arlinda Sejdiu, Erëblina Vata, Era Bytyci Actor and director: @edon shil Filming: Bobb Attard Editing: Edon Shileku Audio: Edon Shileku Assistant: Agon Rexhepi

Campaign against bullying #NukVlenëMëpak


The harassment that people face every day, especially young people, can have many long-term consequences. The impact of bullying on individuals is not always obvious and can have consequences on mental health and limit the development of a proper lifestyle at school, work, street, or any other environment where such harassment may occur. How can you help? - React to someone who is being bullied - Report the case to the competent authorities - Evaluate the experience of someone who has been bullied and listen to them - Educate bullies Being considered different, living differently, or having different preferences does not mean they are valid anymore less. You are him/her because of your features, I embrace them.

This campaign was made possible by the Equality Engagement Program (E4E), funded by the United States Agency for International Development - USAID Kosovo and implemented by the Center for Equality and Liberty CEL and supported by the Advocacy Training and Resource Center - Advocacy Training and Resource Center – ATRC.

DEKLARATË PËR MEDIA PROJEKT-KODI CIVIL I KOSOVËS SHKEL TË DREJTAT E NJERIUT

Organizatat e shoqerise civile, të nënshkruara më poshtë, konsiderojnë që Projekt-Kodi Civil shkel të drejtat për partneritet (martesë apo bashkësi civile) për personat LGBTI në Kosovë.

Projekt-Kodi Civil definon martesën si bashkësi ligjërisht të regjistruar ndërmjet dy bashkëshortëve të sekseve të ndryshme. Po ashtu, definon që Burri dhe Gruaja, kanë të drejtën të martohen dhe të formojnë familje.

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"Don’t reproduce inequality, respect every identity "


A large number of citizens face discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and others. By stigmatizing such groups, our society cannot become a safe place for all.
The ability in a certain field, professionalism, and the contribution of an individual should never be prejudiced by appearance or identity.
Every person should enjoy the right to be treated equally in the workplace and in any other place or situation.

Prishtina with the "Drop-in Center for the LGBTI communities

Today, a contract was signed with the Municipality of Prishtina regarding the use of a space dedicated to LGBTI people.

The Municipality of Prishtina has provided a space for LGBTI people to open a new 'Drop-in' center.
We are very grateful for the cooperation that has been offered to us as an opportunity. This contract is not only a contract for the use of space, but also for hope and trust in our institutions.

Personat LGBTI shpesh herë për shkak të situatës dhe rangut të homofobisë dhe transfobisë, ngurrojnë të jenë të hapur në publik. Qendra të tilla janë tejet të rendësishme për ofrimin e një vendi të sigurtë, për ofrimin e shërbimeve për shëndet mendor, socializimi me personat LGBTI dhe ofrimin e shumë shërbimeve të cilat jo gjithmonë personat LGBTI kan qasje në to.

We will soon inform you about more details about the center for which space will be used.

Thank you Municipality of Prishtina
Dren Kukaj

Statement on International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

The 17th of May, in Kosovo and worldwide marks International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), to emphasize the dignity of all individuals, regardless of who they love, or regardless of their gender identity.

The marking of this day represents a moment that seeks to draw the attention of the public, decision-makers, local authorities, media, and opinion leaders towards injustices and challenges that LGBTI individuals face, with the hope of bringing social, economic, and political justice.

Gjatë viteve, institucionet qeveritare dhe publike të Kosovës kanë bërë disa hapa pozitiv dhe janë përpjekur që të trajtojnë disa çështje të të drejtave të njeriut e që përfshijnë të drejtat e personave LGBTI.

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Panel Discussion "Regional Perspective of EuroPride 2022"

Within the 5th edition of #YouthSummitinSkopje was held a panel discussion "Regional Perspective of EuroPride 2022" moderated by Antonio Mihajlov attended by representatives from Kosovo - CEL - Lend MustafaSerbia - Marko Mihailović, Bosnia and Herzegovina Amina Imamović and from Montenegro.
On this panel was discussed about the experiences of organizing the Balkan Pride Parade and the regional perspectives of EuroPride 2022

Panel discussion on “Marriage, Cohesion and Civil Society in the Modern Civil Code of the Republic of Kosovo”

This panel discussed the current situation regarding the recommendations that were sent to the law on marriages for the laws to be harmonized with the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo.

In this panel a very constructive debate was held which also highlighted the willingness of civil society to contribute to the Civil Code project in order to be as comprehensive as possible and to serve every citizen of Kosovo.

In this panel were invited Blert Morina, Executive Director at Center for Equality and Liberty - CEL, Igballe Rogova, Executive Director of Kosovo Women's Network, Alfonos Benjamin Lentze, EU Program for Civil Code and Kerstin Niethammer-Jurgents, EU Program for the Civil Code.

Advocacy and Judicial Workshop

CEL was part of the advocacy and judicial workshop on #CivilPartnership in the Western Balkans, organized by ILGA-Europe with the support of the Council of Europe SOGI unit in Podgorica, Montenegro.

Kosovo's draft civil code violates human rights

Center for the Development of Social Groups - CSGD and Center for Equality and Freedom - CEL consider that the Draft Civil Code violates partnership rights (marriage or extramarital affairs) for LGBTI persons in Kosovo and agrees with the legal interpretation of People's Advocate Hilmi Jashari that has also identified the same human rights violations in the Draft Civil Code.

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Projekt-Kodi Civil i Kosovës shkel të drejtat e njeriut

Qendra për Zhvillimin e Grupeve Shoqërore – CSGD dhe Qendra për Barazi dhe Liri – CEL konsiderojnë që Projekt-Kodi Civil shkel të drejtat për partneritet (martesë apo bashkësi jashtëmartesore) për personat LGBTI në Kosovë dhe pajtohet me interpretimin ligjor të Avokatit të Popullit Hilmi Jashari që po ashtu ka identifikuar shkeljet e njëjta të të drejtave të njeriut në Projekt- Kodin Civil.Projekt-Kodi Civil definon martesën si bashkësi ligjërisht të regjistruar ndërmjet dy personave të sekseve të ndryshme. Po ashtu, definon që Burri dhe Gruaja, kanë të drejtën të martohen dhe të formojnë familje. Më tej, Projekt-Kodi Civil parasheh mundësinë e krijimit të bashkimeve tjera civile me një ligj të veçantë. Të gjitha partneritetet e mundshme (martesa apo bashkësia jashtëmartesore) duhet të rregullohen me Kodin Civil. Kjo çasje e të rregulluarit të partneriteteve tjera me ligje të veçanta, tenton të ndaj të drejtën për partneritet për personat LGBTI nga ato të qytetarëve të tjerë të Kosovës. Një çasje e tillë është shkelje fundamentale e të drejtave të njeriut të personave LGBTI në Kosovë, dhe nuk paraqet gjithëpërfshirjen e të drejtave të qytetarëve të Kosovës.Ministria e Drejtësisë ka publikuar Projekt-Kodin Civil të Republikës së Kosovës. Përderisa Ministria e Drejtësisë ka përshkruar kodin si “një kod civil modern”, pas një shikimi të shpejt mund të kuptohet që ky draft lë shumë për t’u dëshiruar. Projekt-Kodi civil ka dështuar në sigurimin e njohjes ligjore të statutit të partneritetit të çifteve të sekseve të njëjta (të bashkësisë jashtëmartesore apo martesës) dhe i’a mohon këtyre përsonave të drejtën për të krijuar familje. Mos rregullimi i partneritetit për çiftet e të njëjtit seks në Projekt-Kodin Civil nga grupi punues që është formuar nga Ministria e Drejtësisë, është çasje diskriminuese në bazë të orientimit seksual.Kushtetuta e Kosovës garanton të drejtën për martesë dhe krijimit të familjes. Është e qartë që në Kushtetutën e Kosovës nuk ka gjini të përcaktuar, që do të pengonte çiftet e seksit të njëjtë të martoheshin dhe të krijonin familje. Më tej, Kushtetuta e Kosovës siguron edhe shtresa të tjera të mbrojtjes së të drejtave themelore të njeriut. Neni 24 i Kushtetutës – Barazia para ligjit garanton që çdo person gëzon të drejtën e mbrojtjes ligjore pa diskriminim duke përfshirë edhe orientimin seksual si bazë të mbrojtur. Kushtetuta lejon zbatueshmëri direkte të Konventës Europiane për Mbrojtjen e të Drejtave të Njeriut dhe Lirive Themelore dhe të Protokolleve të saj në legjislacionin e brendshëm të Kosovës, dhe përcakon që në rast të konfliktit të dispozitave ligjore të mbizotëroj ato. Më tej, në pajtim me Nenin 53 të Kushtetutës së Kosovës, të drejtat themelore të njeriut duhet të interpretohen në harmoni me praktikat gjyqësore të Gjykatës Europiane për të Drejta të Njeriut. (“GJEDNJ”)Gjykata Europiane për të Drejtat e Njeriut ka njohur bashkësinë e personave të seksit të njëjtë si partnerë në Konventën e të Drejtave të Njeriut në nenet lidhur me “Jetën e Familjes”. Gjithashtu, GJEDNJ ka dhënë një numër të konsiderueshëm të gjykimeve lidhur me obligimin pozitiv të shteteve për të njohur ligjërisht partneritetin e çifteve të seksit të njëjtë. Grupi punues ka dështuar të aplikoj praktikat e Gjykatës Europiane për të Drejtat e Njeriut dhe ka dështuar të draftoj legjislacion që është gjithëpërfshirës dhe jo-diskriminues në bazë të orientimit seksual. Është e qartë që Projekt-Kodi Civil përjashton persona nga e drejta për partneritet dhe e drejta për të krijuar familje në bazë të orientimit seksual. Si i tillë, është diskriminues dhe shkel Nenin24 të Kushtetutes, që garanton barazi para ligjit dhe Nenin 37 të Kushtetutës, që garanton të drejtën për martesë dhe familje. Prandaj, Projekt-Kodi Civil duhet të përshkruhet në përputhje me obligimet e Kosovës për të siguruar të drejta të barabarta për të gjithë qytetarët dhe duhet të siguroj njohjeligjore të çifteve të seksit të njëjtë.

Deklaratë e përbashkët në mbështetje të së drejtës në identitet gjinorë si e drejtë fundamentale njerëzore

Blert Morina, has submitted a request for the name and gender marker to be changed in identification documents so that they reflect his gender identity. The Gjakova Civil Status Office and the Civil Registration Agency have rejected this request in breach of Blert's right to privacy and human rights obligations arising from the Kosovo Constitution and applicable laws

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Meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.

Së bashku me kolegët nga Qendra për Barazi dhe Liri e Kosovës dhe (Parada ponosa Beograd )- Parada e Krenarisë e Beogradit mbajtën një takim me përfaqësuesit e Ministrisë së Punëve të Jashtme të Norvegjisë.
Në këtë takim u diskutua për statusin e personave LGBTI në rajon, sfidat e aktivistëve LGBTI dhe mënyrat se si të mbështesim luftën tonë për një shoqëri pa diskriminim, dhunë dhe urrejtje ndaj personave LGBTI.
Faleminderit edhe një herë, Komitetit Norvegjez të Helsinkit për rregullimin e këtij takimi.

Biggest Event "Defender's Days"

Filloi eventi më i madh ”Defender’s Days” i organizuar nga organazata Civil Rights Defenders në Suedi i cili ka për qëllim bashkimin e partnerëve aktivistë me qëllim të ngritjes së kapaciteteve, sensibilizimin në mes tyre, si dhe prezentimin e mënyrës së aktivizmit nëpër Shtetet e tyre. Në këtë event po marrin pjesë edhe dy aktivistë nga organizata Qendra për Liri dhe Barazi (CEL).

Increasing participation of marginalized groups in Kosovo

U mbajt konferenca e organizuar nga ATRC me temën: “Rritja e pjesëmarrjes së grupeve të margjinlizuara në Kosovë” në panelin e titulluar “Komunitetet LGBT dhe shoqëria kosovare” ku ishin të ftuar:
Avokati i popullit – Hilmi Jashari, i cili diskutoj për rolin e tij në mbrojtjen e komuniteteve LGBTI si dhe për mangësit e ligjeve në fuqi ,
Habit Hajredini nga Zyra për Qeverisje të mirë, diskutoj mbi arritjet dhe sfidat e institucioneve shtetërore në lidhje me të drejtat e komunitetit LGBTI, ndërsa Prof.dr. e Sociologjisë, Linda Gusia njëkohesisht dhe anëtare e bordit të CEL diskutoj për Seksualitetin dhe cështjet LGBTI, duke shpjeguar rolin a arsimit si të rëndësishëm për komunitetet LGBTI.

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