Albania: Two women knifed and beaten by a gang of cis men then denied hospital treatment

June 3, 2010

Trigger warning: The following Press Release from aleancalgbt (The Alliance Against Discrimination Against LGBT People) describes a violent attack carried out on two trans women in Albania and contains graphic descriptions of violence which some readers may find upsetting.

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aleancalgbt logo and link to websiteIt is particuarly distressing to note that, following the attacks, hospital staff first refused to treat the victims, relenting only after protests by relatives – and then only providing medical care in a “degrading and offensive” manner. This is simply unacceptable – as is the Albanian media’s apparent misgendering of the two women and the fact that such misgendering happens by default in the mass media around the world (cf the coverage of the recent trial of Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza in Malawi) does not justify such a fundamental denial of the basic right to respect for a person’s self-identity.

Tirana police intervened yesterday after a violent attack with discriminatory tones, against two transgender persons in Tirana, arresting several men as aggressors while they followed, insulted and threatened with knives two transgender people at 10 o’clock at night, in central Tirana.

One of the knifed transgender was caused wounds in the body and other cracks in the head. Both were taken to the emergency room of the Military Hospital in Tirana by police officers, and were accompanied by relatives and witnesses.

The Alliance against Discrimination of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender strongly condemns these violent discriminatory crimes, and urges the Albanian citizens to take a stand against these violations committed because of hate.

According to contacts of the Alliance deriving from acquaintances of the attacked persons, the aggressors were a group of men, who intentionally followed the victims to insult and beat them.

The Alliance regretfully recalls that similar crimes have happened in the past and that the investigations of these crimes did not take note of homophobia motives. It is of utmost importance, also in light of the recent coming into force of the Anti-Discrimination Law, that the police also investigate the possibility of this being a hate-crime rather than feeding a pattern of impunity of such crimes.

Many of the crimes against transgender people are motivated by discrimination and carried out by people who justify clean violence against those who are different from the male and female stereotypes. The Alliance refuses to condone violence and condemns any kind of attack, directed to each Albanian citizen, no matter how diverse is their appearance or sexual orientation.

The Alliance has received testimonies of people who were present during the attack and during the delivery of one of transgender to the Military Hospital. It has been reported by persons present that the hospital aid was denied to the victims with knife wounds. Only after the insistence of relatives of the victim, hospital doctors have agreed to take measures for the transgender, but giving her the degrading and offensive treatment.

The Alliance is distressed, touched and feels indignation by the way the hospital staff has refused to help the victim of the attack, breaking the state law, the MD code and any human moral code.

The Alliance also calls to the Albanian print and electronic media to break the pattern of discriminatory treatment and belittling of such issues. The Alliance observes that the media have also not given appropriate weight to the homophobic drive of such acts and encourages them to do so. The media has a very important role in raising public awareness of homophobia and the equal rights of the LGBT community.

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Curtsey to Richard for the heads-up

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