Sheltering in Albania

Human Rights Watch have visited an emergency shelter for homeless gay people in Tirana, the capital of Albania.

…The shelter, which serves LGBT youth between 18 and roughly 25 who have been rejected by their families, was founded with donations from the US and UK Embassies. The Dutch embassy now provides some support, but the shelter is running out of funds.

That afternoon, I met with Tirana’s mayor, Erion Veliaj. I told him I was impressed by the shelter and asked if the city could support it. “Yes,” he said. “Let them send me a proposal, we must be able to find some money for this service.”

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/11/07/sheltering-albanias-gay-youth-virulent-homophobia

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Romania pulls up the shutters

Romania is gearing up to hold a referendum to amend the constitution to prohibit gay marriage, a move that civil rights groups warn could put the country on an “illiberal” path alongside the likes of Hungary and Poland, writes Politico.

Romania’s civil code forbids same-sex marriage, and civil partnerships have not been introduced.

The planned vote — which could be held as early as November — is the result of a campaign by “Coalition for Family,” which brings together more than 40 groups, many of them religious or describing themselves as “pro-life.” They gathered more than 3 million signatures to force a referendum.

http://www.politico.eu/article/romania-gay-marriage-turns-illiberal-with-moves-against/

Pop Up Pride Centre opens in Belgrade

A gay pride information centre has opened in Belgrade to disseminate information about gay pride week and the pride parade on September 17.

The new centre will be open until September 25 and feature a photo exhibition depicting past violence toward gays. Despite improvements, discrimination and violence toward gays continues every day in the former communist country.

https://www.rferl.org/a/first-gay-pride-information-center-opens-belgrade-serb/28704450.html

Kiev’s Pride

Participants take part in the equality march in Kiev

Valentyn Ogirenko for Reuters | 17111

Ukrainian politicians and foreign diplomats joined thousands marching for gay pride in Kiev today, carrying banners and waving rainbow and Ukrainian flags in a parade which was flanked by a thick cordon of police.

The march was largely incident-free, but 200 people protested, variously calling it an affront to traditional values and to soldiers fighting pro-Russian separatist rebels in the eastern Donbass region.

Ukrainian authorities have increased their support for gay rights since a pro-Western government took power in 2014. In 2015, a law was passed banning workplace discrimination against the LGBT community.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ukraine-lgbt-march-idUSKBN1990IU

Serbia strides ahead

Congratulations to Ana Brnabić, a graduate of the University of Hull, who is Serbia’s first gay Prime Minister and first female Prime Minister.

Brnabić will take up her role as Serbia navigates a crucial few years: the country is preparing for EU membership while retaining its traditionally close relationship with Russia, and nurturing a growing friendship with Beijing.

That’s quite a job description.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/15/serbia-gains-its-first-female-and-gay-prime-minister-ana-brnabic

Hungarian village doesn’t welcome gays

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Laszlo Toroczkai | BBC | 17027

A village in Hungary which is hoping to create a haven for people with traditional views about society has passed a local law which outlaws public displays of affection by gay people. There are other measures directed at other sections of the wider community, especially people of Muslim faith.

“We primarily welcome people from western Europe – people who wouldn’t like to live in a multicultural society,” Mayor Laszlo Toroczkai told the BBC. Mr Toroczkai is mayor of Asotthalom, a remote village in the southern Hungarian plains, situated around two hours from the capital Budapest. “It’s very important for the village to preserve its traditions.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-38881349