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As I Was Looking Above, I Could See Myself Underneath

 
 

Qerkica

Qerkica is a transwoman from Kosovo. Having grown up at a time when gender and sexuality were not topics discussed in the public discourse, she grew resilient. She is one of the leading figures of the LGBTIQ+ movement in Kosovo.

 
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Living in an environment of extreme unacceptance, discrimination against and hate, it was and continues to be very difficult for our protagonists to make it to the job market. They are immediately or eventually deprived of this basic human right.

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Help us support Mustafa, Qerkica and Semi. Our protagonists come from Kosovo, one of the poorest and most homophobic countries in Europe. For some of them, the layers of exclusion and oppression go beyond their being LGBTQ+ persons, with Qerkica experiencing double oppression because of also being a member of a non-majority community in Kosovo (Ashkali). 

Qerkica is a transwoman from Kosovo. Having grown up at a time when gender and sexuality were not topics discussed in the public discourse and in a highly provincial mentality, she grew very resilient. Whereas at a very young age, she was sheltered by her friend Mustafa after having been kicked out of her birth family, she later turned her home into a safe space for LGBTIQ+ persons from Kosovo. She lives with her friend Mustafa, whom she took in after he lost his job and sight and was no longer able to take care of himself. Qerkica needs your help for the basic things such as being able to provide the necessary medication for Mustafa, heating the house and affording the bills and food expenses for the house. With Mustafa being no longer able to work because of his disabilities, Qerkica is forced to struggle to secure living for the both of them. 

Mustafa is a born storyteller. He is a living archive, having been one of the first gay men in Prishtina to turn his own house into a safe space for gay persons. Now that he is half-paralyzed and blind, his memory is his strongest point. He loves to express himself through literary artistic pieces. 

He keeps himself up to date by listening to the radio all day. He remembers every detail, date and day of the events he recalls when you talk to him and dreams of being able to write his life story into a theater play. However, he is unable to do so because of his disability. By donating, you would help him achieve his long-dream of having a blind persons-friendly tool for him to be able to not only keep himself up to date by absorbing information, but also express himself through artistic means which otherwise are inaccessible for him. A special phone for blind people into which besides being able to call people, Mustafa can dictate his stories and learn new languages is something that would not only make him more independent and happier, but would contribute to the production of his fascinating memory and imagination into pieces of literary art. 

Semi is a warrior. With his life taking a turn after he was expelled from his passionate job as a journalist at the public broadcaster, because of his sexuality, he struggled with drug abuse. When we met him first, he wanted to flee Kosovo and was struggling a lot. On the way, he also lost his mother who was his greatest motivation and support. However, he chose to look above! The progress he made is inspirational for all of us and we know it will be so for you as well. Semi’s dream is to go back to TV and to rediscover and anchor his old TV show “Amazing b’e njeri”. Semi is a beautiful soul.  He loves the art world, has an undying niche for television and an uncompromised passion for activism and protection of human rights. He wants to get back on his feet and become independent. He wants to go back to being a journalist, ultimately back to television, where he felt so at home. 

To be able to do all these things he needs your help for his medication, therapy, monthly expenses, transport and rent expenses for an apartment until he manages to find a new job and is safe and strong enough to be back in front of the cameras.

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Home is a feeling, they say, but where is home, when you are not allowed to feel at home even within your own body and mind?

As I Was Looking Above, I Could See Myself Underneath unveils intimate stories of LGBTQ persons from Kosovo, going through their unceasing search for a safe place that allows them to be.