Being Gay in Kosovo (Video)

 

Hello friends!

Happy Gay Pride in Pristina, Kosova! Today is the first annual Gay Pride in the country’s capital, and I am so excited about this!

As a gay Kosovar Albanian man, this is a huge deal! Several years ago I wrote a blog post to share my own experiences coming out as gay. I did that so I could share with people what is often unspoken about in our community, and more importantly, to possibly help others to let them know they are not alone. You can check that out here: http://rebelbeard.com/gay-shqiptar-what/

I created this video to share my support and experience and to also give some visibility around life in Kosovo as a gay person:

Check out this post that I had also shared chronicling some stories of what other gay people have experienced while living in Kosova as an LGBT person: http://rebelbeard.com/gay-life-in-kosovo/

I am so happy and so proud that Kosova is moving forward in such a progressive way and starting to lift the veil around LGBT people. I think this will start to humanize us to those who have vilified us as monsters that go against being Albanian or that bring shame to our families.

We are Albanian like you. We are human beings like you. We are your sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and even mothers and fathers.

<3 <3

 

LGBT Documentary “United in Love” – Kosovo

Being a gay Albanian is pretty tough. I should know because I am one! I was the first openly gay Albanian in the Detroit area to come out of the closet. Some people were fucking shitty about it. I know many Albanians said terrible things about me, and some said them to me. However, I am proud to be both Albanian and gay, so no one’s words will deter me from being happy and appreciating both cultures.

Check out my blog post for about my life as an out gay Albanian man: Gay Shqiptar?! What?!

This post is more about raising awareness. There is a group of brave men and women in Kosovo called QESh who are helping spread the word about the LGBT community. They are bringing awareness that the LGBT community exists, that we are just like everyone else, and that we should be treated as equals by our Albanian brothers and sisters. You can check out their Facebook here: QESh.

The problem is Kosovo’s societal view of homosexuality. Between religion and Albanian pride, being gay is severely frowned upon. QESh is doing a great job of letting people know that being is gay is not the evil and horrendous act against humanity and the Albanian culture that people make it out to be.

They created this wonderful documentary to show what it is like being LGBT and living in Kosovo as well as the legal and psychological views of the LGBT community. Interesting enough, the LGBT community is considered protected and equal by the law. Protection against discrimination sexual orientation is specifically listed in the Kosovo Constitution.

I remember what it was like when I first came out. In the 16 years that I have been out, I have personally seen the progress in the Albanian community when it comes our view on homosexuality. They’ve adapted and have become more accepting than ever before. Coming out was tough, but if trailblazing the way for progress was the outcome, then it was worth every nasty word and dirty look.

This tells me that what QESh is doing can and will work. They will help bring the Kosovo Albanian people into the modern age by spreading knowledge and awareness and help build a stronger Albanian community!

Westboro church founder Fred Phelps dies (finally)

Isn’t it funny that Fred Phelps from the Westboro Baptist Church died so close to the International Day of Happiness? I know I’m super happy now!

Good fucking riddance to this guy! What a hateful monster! Look at the all of the poisonous family members he created that now spew out his intolerance and hate. I hope they all die a pitiful death like he did.  Even though he was excommunicated from his own church, he is to blame for all this evil they brought in the world!

This one is for you dickbag:

 

This is from CNN:

(CNN) — Fred Phelps — the founding pastor of a Kansas church known for its virulently anti-gay protests at public events, including military funerals — has died, the church said Thursday.

The 84-year-old died of natural causes at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, according to church spokesman Steve Drain.

Phelps founded Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, in 1955 and molded it in his fire-and-brimstone image. Many members of the small congregation are related to Phelps through blood or marriage.

In a statement Thursday, the church chided the “world-wide media” for “gleefully anticipating the death.”

Photos: Pastor Fred PhelpsPhotos: Pastor Fred Phelps

“God forbid, if every little soul at the Westboro Baptist Church were to die at this instant, or to turn from serving the true and living God, it would not change one thing about the judgments of God that await this deeply corrupted nation and world.”

According to Westboro, the church has picketed more than 53,000 events, ranging from Lady Gaga concerts to funerals for slain U.S. soldiers. Typically, a dozen or so church members — including small children — will brandish signs that say “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.”

Phelps was often called “the most hated man in America,” a label he seemed to relish.

“If I had nobody mad at me,” he told the Wichita Eagle in 2006, “what right would I have to claim that I was preaching the Gospel?”

Under Phelps’ leadership, Westboro members have preached that every calamity, from natural disasters to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, is God’s punishment for the country’s acceptance of homosexuality. Phelps had advocated for gays and lesbians to be put to death.

“Fred Phelps will not be missed by the LGBT community, people with HIV/AIDS and the millions of decent people across the world who found what he and his followers do deeply hurtful and offensive,” the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said in a statement.

Phelps began his anti-gay protests in Wichita in 1991 after complaining that the city refused to stop gay activities in a public park. He rose to national notoriety in 1998, when Westboro members picketed at the funeral of Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming man who was tortured and murdered because he was gay. Phelps and his church carried signs that said Shepard was rotting in hell.

The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Westboro Baptist Church “arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America.”

In 2011, the Supreme Court upheld Westboro’s right to picket military funerals on free speech grounds. Congress and several states, though, have passed laws aimed at keeping church members at a distance from funerals.

In 2013, more than 367,000 petitioners called on the White House to legally recognize Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group. The White House called Westboro’s protests “reprehensible” but said that “as a matter of practice, the federal government doesn’t maintain a list of hate groups.”

Anti-gay preacher once fought for civil rights

Born in Meridian, Mississippi, on November 29, 1929, Phelps had his sights set on West Point before he attended a Methodist revival. He said the sermon inspired him to enter the ministry.

“I felt the call, as they say, and it was powerful,” Phelps told the Topeka Capital-Journal in 1994. “The God of glory appeared.” Later, Phelps was ordained by a Southern Baptist church in Utah.

He bounced around several Christian colleges as his preaching and his theology took a hard right turn.

A Time magazine article from 1951 describes Phelps as a “craggy-faced engineering student” who harangued fellow students about the dangers of promiscuity and profanity.

Tim Miller, a professor of religious history at the University of Kansas who has studied Westboro Baptist Church, said Phelps liked to consider himself a “primitive Baptist preacher who held to the old ways.”

Despite its “Baptist” name, Westboro is not affiliated with any larger church denomination. Most Christians criticize the congregation’s harsh anti-gay rhetoric and penchant for pursuing the limelight at inappropriate moments.

Phelps married his wife, Marge, who survives him, in 1952. The couple moved to Topeka on May 4, 1954, the day the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision Brown v. Board of Education, which desegregated public schools.

Phelps interpreted that as a sign and soon began a law career that centered on civil rights, winning awards for his work and praise from local leaders.

“Most blacks — that’s who they went to,” the Rev. Ben Scott, president of the NAACP’s Topeka branch, told CNN in 2010. “I don’t know if he was cheaper or if he had that stick-to-it-ness, but Fred didn’t lose many back then.”

Phelps was disbarred from practicing law in state courts, however, after being accused of badgering a witness and making false claims in court affidavits. The Kansas Supreme Court said that Phelps “has little regard for the ethics of his profession.”

Phelps surrendered his license to practice law in federal courts in 1989, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal, after nine U.S. District Court judges filed disciplinary complaints against him.

Most of the members of Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church are members of his large family. Phelps has 13 children; 11 are attorneys. One son, Nathan, is estranged from his father and from organized religion. He is an atheist.

Nathan Phelps posted a Facebook message March 15 saying that his father had been excommunicated from the church. Later, though, Nathan Phelps said it was “unclear” whether his father had been expelled from Westboro.

A church statement issued on March 16 said that “membership issues are private” and that eight unnamed elders lead the congregation.

On Thursday, the church added, “Listen carefully; there are no power struggles in the Westboro Baptist Church, and there is no human intercessor — we serve no man, and no hierarchy, only the Lord Jesus Christ.”

For years, Phelps joked about the possibility that his own funeral would draw protests. During a sermon in 2006, he said a CNN reporter once asked how he would feel if that occurred.

“I’d love it. I’d invite them,” Phelps told the reporter, according to the Wichita Eagle. “I said: ‘I’ll put in my will to pay your way. But not first class.’ ”

But Shirley Phelps-Roper, Phelps’ daughter, said Westboro will not hold a funeral.

“We do not worship the dead,” Phelps-Roper told CNN.

CNN’s John Blake and Katherine Wojtecki contributed to this report.

Albania’s prime minister strongly supports the gay community (Repost)

I am reposting this article from here:

Dr. Sali Berisha, Albania’s prime minister, expressed his support of LGBT rights and gay marriage

22 APRIL 2013 | BY DAN LITTAUER

Albanian Prime Minister, Dr. Sali Berisha met with Xheni Karaj and Kristi Pinderi, local gay activists, expressing his full support for LGBT rights in the country

Albanian Prime Minister, Dr. Sali Berisha met with local gay activists expressing his full support for LGBT rights in the country.

In the first ever meeting of its kind, Berisha, of the right-wing Democratic Party, welcomed today (22 April) two Albanian LGBT activists, Xheni Karaj and Kristi Pinderi.

He is the first Albanian PM to do so, after being the first Albanian politician to have declared himself in favor of same sex marriage, almost 4 years ago, after the elections of 2009.

During the meeting he expressed his full support for the LGBT movement in Albania stating: ‘I have carefully followed all your actions and I think that you have, so far, responded in a very good way whenever that has been necessary’.

He added ‘it is important to believe in the cause you represent. […] To tell you the truth, [in the beginning] I have felt sorry when the debate about LGBT issues was going on and no one from the community was able to go publicly and defend the cause.

‘So, I really appreciate that you both have appeared on television and have brought the LGBT issues to public attention’.

Berisha also condemned a previous declaration of the vice-minister of defense Ekrem Spahiu who said gays should be beaten up with a stick.

The prime minister said: ‘This kind of declaration is unacceptable not only for a vice minister but for everyone’, adding that every politicians should express their views on LGBT rights without fear.

The two activists asked the prime minister about the recently proposed amendments of the penal code, which include the criminalization of hate speech and intentional harassment towards LGBT people through digital technology.

Berisha stated that he is carefully following the procedures and discussions for these amendments and he added that he is fully supporting them.

Karaj and Pinderi stressed the need to include civil society in discussing the work of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner institution.

They emphasized the gay rights groups, Aleanca LGBT and Pro LGBT are unsatisfied with institute’s performance.

Berisha said that his government will pursue to enforce Albania’s progressive anti-discrimination law.

Pinderi and Karaj also asked the prime minister if his is still committed to marriage equality, or at least in favor of gay civil unions as he stated four years ago.

Berisha gave his cautious support: ‘I don’t see any wrongdoing if they want to live with each other.

‘But don’t forget, that the job to breaking the ice [about gay marriage in Albanian] society is a job that will … need … time.

‘But what is important is that you are on the right track’, advising a non-confrontational attitude.

The prime minister guaranteed that LGBT rights could be more political and visible through events like Tirana Pride 2013, in September and public events during the International Day Against Homophobia on 17 may.

My thoughts:

As a gay Albanian man, I love this! I would be so happy and so proud of my people if they moved in the direction of LGBT acceptance! I wish I could be part of the LGBT civil rights movement in Kosova and Albania!

Stereotypes and Stupid Questions (Gay Men)

Ok, to get straight to the point, this shit drives me bonkers.

As much I can’t stand intolerant assholes who look at me as some biblical monster or as a person that is not equal to them, sometimes people who just love the gays or are uniformed drive me more crazy!

There are a couple of questions/statements that I notice people (especially women) immediately ask upon discovering that I am gay.

Question #1: Do you have a boyriend? Seriously? That is the first place your brain goes? I didn’t ask you if you had a boyfriend. We just met. I get that it is fascinating that you met a man who dates other men, and the idea of him having a boyfriend/partner just makes me you sploosh your panties. But it is no different then you dating your man! This question always annoys me. I know that no harm is meant by it. It is still annoying. I’m not a pony show to entertain or amuse you. I actually just IMed a coworker and asked her a question about who files what claims in that area. She told me. Then she asked me if I had found a boyfriend yet. WTF? I’m sure that has nothing to do with claims.

Statement #1: You’re gay? We have to go shopping together sometime! Um what? I just met you. Why the fuck would I go shopping with you? I’m pretty sure I already don’t like you so why would I torture myself by hanging out with you? I’m gay, not a sadist. I actually hate shopping. I am one of those quick in and out shoppers. The ONLY time I used my shopping abilities is for my mother, brother, sisters, and some cousins. That’s it. Not for stupid fools who slap me in the face with a stereotype.

One of my biggest pet peeves: Fag Hags and Fag Stags. This topic really makes my blood boil. These girls are heterosexual world road kill who are kicked over into the gay world. To me, loving someone just because they are gay is the same thing as hating someone because they are gay. I hate when I go to the bar and I see these obnoxious, over protective, bigger girls crowding the place because they want to be with “their gays.” We are no one’s gay. There are a couple of straight men who have all gay friends because they just love the attention we idiotically give. I always have an appreciation for those people who have friends that happen to be gay, not friends because they are gay.

My all time biggest pet peeve: Gay men are not women!! We are not “one of the girls!” We are men. We have male genitals. Being gay is not the same thing as being a woman. Being gay means I am a man who likes men. Do not invite me to your baby showers, wedding showers, or girl’s night out. Fuck you.

To everyone hetero: Gay people are real people. We are not Showtime entertainment. We have every day lives with every day problems. We have the same blood types that you do. We smile when we are happy, we cry when we are sad. We have hobbies and talents like you do. We face the world alone or with a partner like you do. We struggle to pay bills during hard times like you do. There are many varieties of gay men (and lesbians) as their are straight men (and women). Some are feminine and some are masculine. Some love make up and others love video games. We are all different. Try to get to know the person who you are meeting and not the stereotype you want him to be.

The only difference between us is people don’t judge you because of you who fall in love with or want to marry (unless you were black before the 1960’s).