He’s one of the most courageous voices inside the transgender community in Kosovo. The first to start the transition process, he opposed the hetero-normative society norms and started a legal battle to set the first precedent of changing the gender in identification documents. This is the story of Blert Morina, one of the first activists for LGBTI+ rights in Kosovo and director of CEL, the NGO dealing with the LGBTI+ community in Kosovo.
In this interview, Blert elaborates on his journey full of hurdles and surprises, from the early efforts of trying to contact specialized doctors, to the controversial laws of Kosovo and many other challenges he has faced during the past years and continues to face to fulfill his main goal: being his true self.
Around what age did you realize your true gender identity? Since I was a little kid, I’ve always seen myself as a boy. I started understanding more about my gender identity during the puberty when due to the physical changes, I realized that my biological gender didn’t match with the gender I identified with.
When did you come out as transgender and how were the people’s reactions? Honestly speaking, I’ve always considered myself as a boy. But it came a time in my life when I started getting more information about the transgender community and at that moment I realized that there are other people who feel exactly how I felt at the time. I started expressing my feelings to some family members and I came out to them 5 years ago. I must say that I was really surprised by their positive and supportive reactions. I thought it would be difficult for them to understand and I had prepared my luggage and started considering moving out, before coming out to them. The reaction was that supportive, that one of my sisters said to me: “Finally you came out, we’ve always called that in question.”
It is true that Kosovo has a quite advanced legal framework when addressing LGBTI+ issues. For example, the law for gender equality specifies who the transgender community is. Logically, one may think that this allows you to change your legal gender if you feel so. Still there’s some loopholes explaining the processes and procedures on how a citizen might change his name and gender identity in official documents.
Also the interpretation of the law specifies that the gender transitioning process isn’t crucial when it comes to changing your gender identity. So it is unlawful to set the transitioning process as a requirement for people who want to change their gender, because this service isn’t provided anywhere in Kosovo.