There is need to additionally educate psychologists and psychiatrists on human rights and needs of trans persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina


In scope of the program for marking 16 Days of Activism, Sarajevo Open Centre (SOC), on 3 December 2018 in Sarajevo, held the training for psychologists and psychiatrists named “Medical aspects of gender reassignment: On adequate, trans specific and inclusive services and support providing to trans persons in the transition process”.

Education was led by Iva Žegura, MSc, clinical psychologist (Psychiatry Clinic Vrapče, Zagreb) and Tea Dakić, MD, psychiatry resident (Psychiatry Clinic of Montenegro). This half-day training gathered around 20 medical experts from the public health institutions, clinical centres and health institutes from Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Mostar, a well as from NGOs that deal with providing psychological support and counseling. They presented to the participants the psychology and psychiatry perspectives in the process of transition of gender variant/ non-conforming, transgender and transexual persons, as well as the experience of the trans persons from BiH.

One of the trainers, Tea Dakić, said that psychiatrists are no longer the so-called gate keepers who prevent trans persons from achieving what de facto belongs to them, but should actively work on their inclusion, support and trans specific counseling. “We should not see transgender identity as short-term caprice, nor should we persuade the person to quit transition, but we should be there in every phase as support and introspective insight into their situation and needs”, said Tea.

One of the participants, Zvjezdana Jakić, psychologist and therapist from the Foudation Wings of Hope, speaks about her impressions: “I participated in the training that SOC organized with the motivation to learn more about trans persons, because as a psychotherapist I meet a wide range of clients. This is the first time I encounter this topic with a high quality and professional approach. The training did not last long, so I hope for a future continuation”.

In the next year SOC will continue organising education for endocrinologists, gynecologists and urologists, as well as for plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgeons on this topic, with hope for intensifying further efforts towards enabling the adequate medical gender reassignment services in BiH. For that cause, we created the publication Medical Aspects of Gender Reassignment: Manual for medical professionals and healthcare workers on providing services and support to trans persons in the transition process, that aims at raising awareness on trans identities, problems, needs and human rights of trans persons within the BiH healthcare system.

The manual and training we realized are a part of the project Positive Action Programme for MSM & Transgender People“ that is supported by ViiV Healthcare UK Ltd. For any additional information on the project, please contact Programme Coordinator Delila Hasanbegović ([email protected]).