Community / Portraits

VillageQ Community: LGBT in Albania

Kristi is the first person that I interviewed for this series whom I personally know.  I couldn’t be happier that he agreed because he and his friends are about the most fearless people I know, and they are changing the world. He downplays his impact, but living out in Albania is not easy. He is actively making life easier for LGBT people with the help of his partner, his family, his organization, and his friends.

To participate in our series, please email clare@villageq.com for more information.  


Name: Kristi

Photo Credit: Kristi

Kristi with his Mother Photo Credit: Kristi

Age: 32

Hometown: Tirana, Albania

Social media handles: Facebook.com/kristi.pinderi, Twitter: @KristPinderi, http://historia-ime.com/category/english/

Number and ages of kids: None

Number (and type) of pets: 1, a shih tzu dog

Relationship status: In a relationship

Job: LGBT Activist

Favorite children’s book: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Favorite flavor of ice cream: No difference

How did you create your family?

We started to live together after my partner decided to leave home. At the start, it was also a sort of need to live alone, and we enjoyed staying together. Then the relationship became very serious. We rented a house together and started to consider ourselves as one family. We then moved in together to a new home with my mother as she got sick and needed daily care. This lasted for more than one year. It was sort of difficult to live with my mom as well my partner, so he moved back to his parents’ house. He is still my partner, and we share everything together. He has a good relationship with my mother, I would say better than I do in several issues!

What is it like for queer parents/ couples in your country?

It is not an easy thing and usually it is something that people try to hide. But, for us, it is also a matter of our daily life activism as we are both gay activists. We choose to stay in this country and change it for the better. The most important part is the step of coming out to the family. We did it, and we have seen the good results. At least we are not afraid to say who we are and that in a way legitimizes our relationship.

What challenges have you faced as a queer family and how did you overcome them?

It was difficult for my mother to accept my sexuality and it was difficult for my partner’s family as well. In fact, his was much more difficult. They were all afraid of what others would think of it.

Financial issues also became a problem for a couple of months at the beginning but being together made it easier. To some people it was easier to say we were just two friends sharing the rent because they could not accept the fact that we are a family.

Usually I cook and he wash the dishes. In general, I am the bad guy to have at home because I would say I am extremely messy, while he is the opposite.

So, your mom is part of your family.  How has she supported you publicly and privately?  

Initially she escaped. But that only lasted one week. When she came back, she asked, “Where is my son?” She didn’t support me because she didn’t know how to support me and also why to support me! In the end, she just loved me.

Then publicly, or among her relatives, she started to behave as an educational mentor to everyone else. She educated her sisters and other relatives with information about the LGBT community that she got either by asking me or by being more attentive whenever there was something about the LGBT community on television.

In May 2014, for the first time, a documentary on the LGBT movement in Albania was screened in an Albanian theater. I was one of the people interviewed. We had no idea what type of reception the movie would get. But, my Mom came to the “SkanDal” screening. I think she cried during all that event. She said me afterwards: “I didn’t know you have passed through all this…”

What, if any, backlash has she received?

My older brother is furious with the fact that I am gay. He feels ashamed of my surname, which is his surname as well. He is married and has a daughter. My mother cannot see her own grandchild in his presence. My mother and my brother do not talk anymore with each other because I am gay. My brother cannot stand the fact that my mother supports me.

I believe my mother loves us both, but she has decided to stand by my side even if this means that her older son would not talk to her anymore. And I think she loves her granddaughter even more– although she can’t meet her very often. Usually she buys her presents and meets her when allowed. This is very sad!

What mistakes did your parents make that you hope to never repeat?

My parents were divorced, but I don’t think that is a mistake. What my mother did wrong is the fact that she didn’t take more care of herself. I would have liked her to have taken more care of herself.

What words will you never say to your kids?

I would definitely not say something like: “you act like a girl” 🙂

How do you balance work and home life?

We work together.

That doesn’t sound like balance. How do you keep the love alive?

I don’t really know. There is no formula, but probably by just taking care of each other.

Describe your favorite family moment.

When cooking and eating together.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you Clare for your support

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