Meeting with UCC of Republika Srpska: On possibilities of gender reassignment in B&H

In order to present to the doctors of relevant medical fields of the leading medical institution in Republika Srpska, the topic of medical gender reassignment in B&H, human rights and needs of transgender and transexual persons, as well as recent activities of Sarajevo Open Centre regarding this issue, publishing the manual and education meetings for specialists of specific medical fields that have previously taken place, our coordinator Delila Hasanbegović organised a meeting with representatives of the University Clinical Centre of Republika Srpska.

Participants of the meeting were: MD Nera Zivlak Radulovic, psychiatry specialist, head of Psychiatry Clinic, Anita Mitrović, psychologist, Maja Tomanić, social worker at the Clinic, and Bojana Kukilo, trans woman from Banja Luka who is currently in the transition process.

During the meeting they talked about the need to raise awareness on trans identities, problems, needs and human rights of trans persons in BH healthcare system, from aspects of different medical fields, about the current situation in UCC RS when it comes to trans specific services, about the ways to improve the existing gender reassignment services.

Ms Zivlak emphasised the need to further educate employees on these issues, she thanked SOC for their initiatives and pointed that she, during scientific meetings in the region and the world and BH scientific magazines, strives to talk about gender identity and open these topics, as well as to report on our trainings, info sessions and meetings. They initiated the idea to hold a training at the UCC RS on this topic, where they would gather doctors within all medical fields included in gender reassignment procedures.

Ms Mitrović pointed out the importance of communication between trans patients that seek their support and trans persons who are already in the transition process, which would significantly facilitate communication with psychologists and open trans persons for further processes. There were many questions for Bojana and her transition process and current possibilities of gender mark change in personal (ID) documents in B&H.

Conclusion that they made was that trainings should take place more often and with as many employees, including nurses/ medical technicians, in order to effectively move towards establishing teams for these procedures. For procedures that are not possible in B&H, there should be strengthening of the health insurance system that would partly or fully cover the costs of these procedures in Serbia/ Croatia/ Montenegro. Conclusions from the meeting will be presented to the UCC management.

We think that holding this and similar meetings is very significant and we hope to, by talking about these issues, current capacities and possibilities, commonly support further endeavors towards enabling adequate gender reassignment services in B&H. We are holding these meetings with clinical centres of Sarajevo, Tuzla and Mostar.

The manual we created, trainings, info sessions and meetings we have realised based on the manual are part of the project „Positive Action Programme for MSM & Transgender People“ supported by ViiV Healthcare UK Ltd, through which Sarajevo Open Centre, with different activities, wants to make a step towards education of medical experts and healthcare workers in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the needs and human rights of transgender, transexual and gender variant persons in accessing adequate healthcare.