I mentioned the gay Kosovo issue on this blog once before, and here is a follow-up from the Washington Post in July:

Persecuted Gays Seek Refuge in U.S.

One night in 2003, on the wintry streets of Kosovo, a group of thugs stalked and beat Gramoz Prestreshi almost to death. Police in the war-scarred Balkan province laughed and called him names. The emergency room workers made him mop up his own blood. It was a sordid but hardly unusual episode in the hostile environment homosexuals encounter in societies of all kinds.

Unlike many such victims, though, Prestreshi kept his wits about him. He had photographs taken of his injuries. He complained to the press and clipped every article. When his family disowned him, he joined a gay rights organization and slept in its office. This spring, his determination bore unexpected fruit, and Prestreshi was accepted as a legal refugee in the United States. He now lives in the District.

“I am happy because I don’t have to live like a prisoner anymore in a society where no one is allowed to be different,” said Prestreshi, a slight, nervous man of 22, who won his asylum case with help from Whitman-Walker Clinic in the District. “But I can never forget what happened. It hurt when the police called us ‘faggots.’ It hurt when my parents screamed and beat me after they found out. It still hurts.”
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Often, even in countries where legal help is available theoretically, social hostility to homosexuals can overshadow their formal rights. Kosovo, for example, is governed under a postwar U.N. mandate. It has laws banning discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation and has an active, liberal press.

None of that, however, was enough to protect Prestreshi or his friend Korab Zuka, 23, who fled to the United States this spring and is awaiting an asylum hearing. Zuka was a leader of the fledgling gay rights movement in
Pristina, and he was featured last year in a British gay magazine article called “Europe’s Hidden Homos.”

Zuka said his public profile led to unbearable pressure and a series of threats. He said he repeatedly called the Kosovo police, who shrugged off his complaints.

“It was very frightening to live there as a gay person,” Zuka said during a recent interview at Whitman-Walker. “You always had the fear that someone would come up and kill you. At least here I can walk down the street without looking around to see who is behind me.”