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In Albanian, Ylber means rainbow, but it can also be a name for a boy.
Also in Albanian, Dylber means an extremely handsome young man, but it can also be a name (strangely) for a boy. However, more specifically, nowadays dylber is used as a swear word to refer to someone as queer or gay, carrying a negative connotation.

Historically, though, sexuality between erastai and eromenoi was as accepted in the land of Albanians as it was in Ancient Greece, even during the Ottoman Empire, until the beginning of the communist era. It was during this later period that homophobia became ingrained in the collective consciousness. Interestingly, the term Dylber was borrowed from the Ottomans. At that time, it was quite common for wealthy men to have a younger companion, and this relationship would be openly acknowledged as sexual.

Today, Albanian queers are experiencing a renaissance. They're young, fearless, and eager to embrace life to the fullest, reminiscent of ancient warriors.

It's important to note that Albanians queers are also starting to appropriate the term "dylber" as a reclamation of stigma. While not as widely used as "queer" or "pédé," it's a notable shift in language.

To discover an article on this project in Vice Belgium, click here for the French version and here for the Dutch version.