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.