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27 February 2012
On Saturday, 25 February 2012, PINK Embassy staff was in front of third-year students of Social Work by the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Tirana in front of more than 70 students with a lecture on the organization and LGBT community issues in Albania.
Having been invited by professors Edmond Dragoti and Artur Xhaxhiu, the two PINK Embassy representatives, presented the history of the LGBT movement in Albania and the world, LGBT concepts, prejudices and responses on the community and LGBT problems in Albanian society. The lecture was followed by a long Questions & Answers session and debates among students.
One of the challenges of this unusual lecture was the composition of the class. Differently from previous audiences which PINK Embassy had been addressing came from different age-groups. The youngest were 20 and the oldest 40+.
After a detailed presentation of the activities, issues and problems of the LGBT community, the group started with the questions and answers session which the students used as a tool to address their concerns, opinions and points of view. Their questions where related to sexuality issues as well as to the social impact of this phenomenon, especially on the children.
The question of one student was whether there is love between LGBT people or whether it was just “for fun”. Another asked whether homosexuality was a choice or genetic. However, except for questions which were legitimate to be asked on our social context, many students were concerned and disapproving of issues such as gay couples, marriage, adoption or raising kids by homosexual couples. Expressed in the form of questions or comments, for many of these students the traditional family paradigm, man and woman, was fundamental for society and for that reason most of them did not understand the productivity, value and purposes of a homosexual couple.
In their dialogue with the students, PINK Embassy put emphasis on information, knowledge and countless facts from areas such as psychology, sociology, medicine etc in order to confirm in front of them the fact that being an homosexual does not mean not to know how to love, not to enter a romantic relationship and why not bring to life healthy children.
In front of these explanations, however, which seemed that students had no objections, what some students pointed out was the “invisibility” of LGBT persons in Albania and therefore not enabling the rest of society to enter a dialogue with them which would result in acceptance.
One student commented that, among other things, our society associates LGBT people with strong prejudices which we need to get rid of.
The ending of the lecture was followed by loud debates between different groups who seemed to be discussing for and against homosexuality.
At the ending of class, the message of PINK Embassy was that Albanian society needs to reflect on minorities, whatever their type might be and cultivate tolerance, comprehension and diversity.