The Kosovo society remains deeply patriarchal and even hostile towards sexual minorities. Even though Kosovo is one of only ten European states to have constitutionally banned discrimination against these minorities, society is very much close minded when it comes to their rights. People who dare to “come out” are, in most cases, kicked out of their family homes, or, among other, subjected to some form of treatment to cure their “sexual illness”. This is all a consequence of the widespread believe that LGBT people are deviant or suffer from mental illness that needs to be cured. Constant repression towards members of this community often results in their pulling back in closed, under the radar, circles, or in some cases, even asylum seeking.
Iris network supported the project “Diversity week” and its member QESh, which is a NGO that advocates for the rights of the LGBT community in Kosovo. Amongst other activities throughout the project, they raised visibility of LGBT individuals organizing concert, art exhibitions, monologue performances, open panel discussions, workshops with experts, health activities, as well as film and documentary screenings, including a documentary currently in production by QESh. People from various backgrounds including artists, youth, university students, health care providers, and experts from different fields are now more connected and the LGBT community is more present. Their project brought together representatives not only of LGBT community and NGO sector, but also government institution to discuss the importance of improvement and development of different kind of social services to this community. Most importantly, questions about the need for safe houses and shelters for people who are being kicked out of their homes and excluded from their families, where raised.