Trans * dialogue in Bosnia and Herzegovina

trans-poster-900_0Trans* empowerment workshop

During the April, Sarajevo Open Centre, supported by the Swedish SIDA, has organized together with an informal group Trans * BiH, a two-day workshop of empowerment for trans * people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, with guests from the region – Trans Aid from Croatia, Queer Montenegro from Montenegro and TransAkcija from Slovenia.

Fifteen participants have discussed and exchanged ideas and opinions sharing their personal stories regarding the process of transition, the challenges faced by the medical procedures and legal (non)recognition within the legal framework in the countries in the region, but also in BiH. We have learned about existing options and possibilities, that are not many, when it comes to medical sex reassignment procedure, the legal recognition of transgender people and talking about transfeminism.

An indispensable and perhaps the most important part were interactive workshops for personal empowerment and strengthening trans * community, having in mind that the Trans Balkan network that was established earlier, makes a good platform for communication and cooperation between trans * people in the region. Two days of talks, laughter, safe space and many lessons learned are only a prelude for continuous trans* talks we are about to start intensively this year.

Trans * Study/Research Publication

Sarajevo Open Centre is currently preparing a comprehensive study, the first of its kind, which will, in its introduction present the development of trans * movement and its (non) acceptance within the LGB community, and an overview of the situation of trans * people in BiH and the region, as well as new initiatives that are growing.

As part of the study and one the core parts of the study will be results of a research among trans* people in BiH, their experience and the needs of trans * community in BiH, which are related to all the important life aspects: family, education, employment, health care, legal regulation, public space. The aim of this part of the study and the research is to assist in the development of laws and policies that will improve the lives and rights of trans * people in BiH.

Finally, the study will provide a concrete proposal and law proposition model, as the optimal legal solution that would comprehensively regulate the issue of legal status of transgender people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This applies particularly to the question of discrimination in terms of respect for the individual, economic and social rights; sex reassignment procedure and protocols, as well as rights to health-care insurance, for covering different medical procedures, but also the proposition will go towards the legal recognition of trans* people, regardless whether they have undergone sex reassignment surgery or not.

This study is supported by the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and USAID.

transConference – Dialogue on transgender issues

With the study done, in early June 2015, Sarajevo Open Centre is organizing a conference titled – Dialogue on transgender issues: trans * as a political and health issue, where we are opening a space for dialogue between institutions representatives and trans * people in BiH, with guests from the region. The conference will host experts from the civil society dealing with trans* issues, as well as experts from the health institutions. We will also have legal practitioners who have worked on trans*issues, over the years in the neighbouring countries.

Special guest of the conference is prof. Susan Stryker, director of the Institute for LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona, USA, who is also the author of “Transgender history”. The conference is organized with the help and support Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and the US Embassy in Sarajevo.

For Sarajevo Open Centre 2015. is a key year for intensive advocacy for trans * people in BiH.