Trans man becomes first-known person in Kosovo to legally change name and gender on passport

A trans man in Kosovo has become the first named person in the country to update his name and gender marker on his ID documents.

Blert Morina won a two-year court battle to exercise his right to change the name and gender marker on his documents, requests that had previously been denied.

In December, the Basic Court of Prishtina affirmed his right to change the name and sex marker on his documents – only the second time a court in the country had legally backed someone’s right to do so. The first person remained anonymous, according to Kosovo Two Point Zero.

Morina, who is the executive director of LGBT+ rights organisation Center for Equality and Liberty, said he was “exhilarated” to win his legal case, and happy that this chapter of his life is over.

“There were moments when it became too much to balance the work, transition, all the pressure from society, and then the media,” he said.

He added that the biggest issue he faced while having the incorrect name and gender marker on his documents was when he wanted to travel outside Kosovo.

“When [his lawyer] Rina [Kika] told me [of the court’s decision] I was so happy, especially because I would hesitate to travel just to avoid the border thing,” he said.

On Monday (January 20), Morina went to the Municipality of Gjakova to officially request new documents – the same institution that denied his request to change his name from “Blerta” to “Blert” and his sex marker from “F” to “M” two years ago.

The court’s decision says that this refusal was “unlawful”, and ordered the institution to update Morina’s documents within 15 days of him making his request.

It’s the second time a court in Kosovo has ruled in favour of protecting trans rights.

The first time was in 2018, when the Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the Basic Court of Prishtina that affirmed the right of an anonymous applicant to change their name and sex marker to correspond to their gender identity.

“I am so happy that finally my family are going to be relieved of the pressure they have had in recent years,” Morina said.

“And most important of all is that other people with the same request as me will not go through this.”