29 Jun 2018

Transgender man challenges Kosovo laws

Born as a girl named Blerta, 28-year-old Blert Morina from Kosovo says he never felt like a woman. He identifies as a man but his home country doesn't approve of his wish to officially change his name and identification documents.

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Transgender man challenges Kosovo laws - NewsMavens
November 29, 2016 - London, United Kingdom: The transgender symbol is one of the LGBT pedestrian traffic light symbols that have replaced the "green-man" symbol in places around London. (Ben Stevens / i-Images / Polaris)

Why this story matters:

Blert Morina requested an official change of his first name from Blerta to Blert and of his gender from female to male in his ID documents. But the local civil registry office in his hometown of Đakovica turned the request down last month. Morina says he is ready to take the case to court. 

Discrimination against transgender persons is not a new phenomenon. Almost everywhere on the planet, they struggle with administrative, social and personal barriers which prevent them from being recognized and accepted.   

The case of Blert Morina, who decided to go public with his "non-traditional" identity despite living in a rather traditional society, is a novelty for Kosovo. 

The case could increase the visibility of the transgender Kosovar community, as well as inform Kosovar society of the need to be more open and accepting of different gender identities.  This in turn could lead legislators to be more flexible about procedures. 

The battle is likely to be long. But it has to start somewhere.  

Details from the story:

  • When submitting the request, Morina has stated that his current official name hindered his integration into society, which is one of the possible reasons for a name change according to the law.
  • Morina is the first transgender person to publicly challenge Kosovo laws over a refusal to recognize the change of name and gender in official documents.
  • The legal and social treatment of transgender peoples varies across Europe, although currently 41 countries do allow a change in gender on official documents.
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