Arkivi i Lëvizjes LGBTI+ në Kosovë


April 4, 2024

April 26, 2023

Growing up in a place where you have to deny yourself, in a place where love for you is forbidden, forbidden to the point where you’re punished by law for loving someone. Such a place that even banned Pride Parade for 100 years and where you’re punished even if you just hold a flag with colors. This place I mentioned, fortunately, is not Kosovo but Russia, and for me, growing up as a lesbian there has been somewhat difficult.

They say this love is imposed on you, how could it be possible to impose it in a place where a kiss between two women you couldn’t even see in movies.

I’ll never forget that day, I was four years old, it was the first time I saw a painting of a naked woman, my first time seeing what a woman’s body looks like. I was just a child but I was so drawn to what I saw that I stayed there for hours just looking at it. After that day, I started thinking, “why do only boys and girls kiss in movies?”, “why does mom go out with dad and not with another woman?”, “can women have physical contact with each other?” I was a child, and I didn’t give much importance to these questions and thoughts.

I started first grade, and my joy and desire to socialize with other children were immense. I saw there the most beautiful girl I had ever seen and of course, I made her my friend immediately, but my liking for her was much greater than just liking a friend, and as I grew up, I realized it was my first crush.

I grew up, and these thoughts and emotions continued to grow with me. The place where I lived was still the same, it was forbidden to love a woman, another woman, a man, another man. This tormented me more and more every day. Every day I felt more and more the need to deny what I felt, I felt like an anomaly, I thought I wasn’t normal and what I was feeling and thinking was sinful. I imposed on myself and forced myself to like a boy because that’s what’s “normal,” that’s how I should function. I even started going out with boys, did it work? Never! On the contrary, I got irritated by them and by myself, and this irritation didn’t come because these boys were bad, but because for me, they were just friends, friends I could never look at with different eyes. I continued to go out with them, and it felt more and more like going out with my brother, and this feeling has influenced me so much emotionally, especially psychologically. Oh, how much damage it has caused me.

We returned to Kosovo, and this time I was happy again, I hoped I could accept what I feel here. I was wrong, I created expectations from a rural place in Kosovo. Once again, I judged myself for what I felt, for what I loved, and I even judged myself to the point where my friends thought that for every girl I see, I have a sexual attraction. Although the approach in Kosovo was different, I still felt bad, I still felt the need to bury within me a very important part of myself. Once again, I closed myself off, desperate, and this time because of the expectations I had for this place.

I started college, finally, I started something new, something I’ve wanted so much for myself. I came to Pristina, and although Pristina wasn’t as dynamic as Moscow, it was still very different from the village where I was living. I started to socialize and spend time with other people, entirely different from those I met when I returned to Kosovo. Little by little, I started to feel accepted, I wasn’t judged for my appearance, for my hairstyle, or my sexual orientation. Little by little, I saw that here, with these people, I could be myself, I could be accepted and express what I feel. I could freely flirt with a woman, and I could even freely visit places with them, and freely express my love in front of others. I saw that these people didn’t have a problem accepting me, they didn’t have a problem with my sexual orientation, on the contrary, they supported me and were very happy for my new love. And finally, I participated in the Pride Parade, and to experience such a thing, for me, who grew up in a place where Pride Parade was banned by law, it was an immense joy. How could I not be happy, to see and be part of all that atmosphere, where everyone is more emotional than the other, where everyone is expressing things they had to keep within themselves for years, how could I not be happy and not rejoice when for the first time I could go out with pride and show all those things that I’ve wanted to express all my life.

Today I am open about my feelings, I express and appreciate my attractions, and this makes me feel happy because at least in this place, I can love who my heart wants to love, even though many things are still irregular, and discrimination against us still exists, but I still thank this other part of people who accept us and love us for who we are.