Since 2005, May 17 is marked as the international day of fighting against homophobia and transphobia. This day has been marked in more than 130 countries worldwide and has been officially recognized by many countries, including the European Parliament. On May 17, 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses in the latest issue of its International Classification of Diseases.

Since then, this day has been marked as the international day of fighting against homophobia and transphobia as a reminder of the importance of LGBTI human rights around the world. This day also inspires many different actions that raise awareness of the discrimination and the violence that LGBTI people face everyday.

LGBT people make up about 10% of the population of each country, including Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nevertheless, LGBTI BiH citizens often remain completely invisible in society because of violence, fear, exclusion and discrimination.

Over the past two years, Bosnia and Herzegovina and its entities have started their work on combating homophobia and transphobia, abut so far they have taken only the basic measures and steps to improve the position of LGBTI people. Unfortunately, most of these measures are still focused solely on combating violence and discrimination, and no legislative solutions or programs which would ensure the essential equality of LGBTI BiH citizens with their citizens and heterosexual fellow citizens have been developed. Our neighboring countries are far more advanced in this regard. Pride Parades have been organized in Croatia for ten years now, and the same-sex couples can enter the legally recognized same-sex partnership. Also, the process of changing the sex mark on personal documents is considerably simplified in Croatia and does not require complete medical reassignment. Montenegro is the first neighboring country to adopt a strategy and action plan for improving the lives of LGBTI people. Serbia and Montenegro cover the costs of medical sex reassignment through regular health insurance for their transsexual citizens.

Through all of our activities within this month we request from BiH, its entities, cantons and Brčko District to start working intensively on improving human rights and everyday life of LGBTI people in BiH. We cannot allow BiH to be an isolated case in the family of European countries that guarantee equal rights of all their citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or sexual characteristics.

On the following link you can find IDAHOT programme.