Wartime rape victims should not be subject to jokes

A talk show host on the Prva srpska televizija (First Serbian TV Station), Ivan Ivanović, mocked victims of rapes committed during and in relation to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in his show broadcast on November 30th, 2014, thus seriously offending thousands of rape victims in BiH. Human rights organizations demand that Prva srpska televizija and Ivan Ivanović make a public apology to victims of rapes committed during the war in BiH, and that they show the movie Grbavica, which discusses the fate of women who were raped in BiH, at the usual time dedicated to this talk show, in order to indicate respect for these victims.

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The host of the “Evening with Ivan Ivanović” talk show made the following statement in the part of the show dedicated to jokes (8:25 min): “The number of Bosnian women who have given birth to children before the age of 15 has increased since 1995. And then people say that ‘the blue helmets’ did not do a thing over there.”

Ivanović’s “joke” reinterprets one of the most horrific episodes of the war in BiH in a morbid and offensive manner, showing the mass rapes of young girls and womenas a funny episode in the deployment of international peace keeping troops in BiH, at the same time seriously neglecting a number of judicial facts about the victims and the extent of wartime rapes of women in BiH.

Human rights organizations point to the fact that Ivanović’spossible reference to allegations about the rape of Bosniak women in one of the Serb concentration camps during the war by members of the UN peacekeeping troops, who have not yet been prosecuted, represents a particular insult for the rape victims, who have not seen justice to date.

Autonomous Women’sCenter
Center for Modern Skills
Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies
Center for Cultural Decontamination
Civic Initiatives
Civil Rights Defenders
FLIPSUR – Feminist List Against Wartime Rape in Countries of Former Yugoslavia
Humanitarian Law Center
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia
I.A.N. International Aid Network
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM
Regional Minority Center
Victimology Society of Serbia
Women Against Violence
Women in Black
Youth Initiative for Human Rights

Draft Amendment XXXIII to the Constitution of Macedonia – Protection of Marriage or Limitation of the Right to Private and Family Life?

With this letter, BABELNOR Network calls on the international community and ask for public reactions that would prevent the constitutional definition of marriage and civil unions exclusively as unions between one woman and one man


The Government of the Republic of Macedonia has proposed changes to the Constitution
including Amendment 33 which defines marriage and civil unions, but also any other
form of registered life partnership, exclusively as a union between one man and one
woman.
Below is the text of Amendment 33 that regulates marriage, civil unions and any
other registered form of life partnership:

AMENDMENT XXXIII

1. Marriage shall be a life union solely of one woman and one man.
2. A civil union, or any other registered form of life partnership, shall be a life union
solely between one woman and one man.

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On the 7th of July 2014, seven proposed constitutional amendments, including the
Amendment XXXIII that was meant to provide for a ‘clearer definition’ of marriage as a
union between one man and one woman entered into Parliamentary debate along with the
other proposed constitutional amendments. These amendments, however, contained only
the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The definition of
civil union as a union between one man and one woman was not included in the proposal
but was nonetheless included in the draft amendments, which was a flagrant violation of
the procedure for constitutional changes and an audacious abuse of the decision of the
Parliament to proceed with the originally proposed constitutional amendments. On the
27th of August 2014, the seven draft amendments were passed in national Parliament and
there, the proposed Amendment XXXIII contained definitions of civil unions, or any
other registered forms of life partnership
as life unions solely between one woman and
one man.

Therefore, we are writing you to express our concerns regarding the draft constitutional
amendments in Macedonia which include the definition of marriage and civil unions
exclusively as unions between one man and one woman. We are deeply concerned about
LGBTI rights in Macedonia for there are numerous instances of human rights violations
and absence of effective protection and persecution by the state authorities. Therefore we believe that this change will only enhance discrimination, violence, and hate speech
toward the LGBTI community. The exclusive constitutional definition of marriage,
civil unions, and any other form of registered partnership is discriminatory toward
LGBTI people by restricting their right to family life and all the civil and social
rights arising from it.

The contemporary international jurisprudence has already taken a position on this issue.
In the case of Schalk and Kopf v. Austria (No. 30141/04, ECHR 2010), European Court
for Human Rights stated that the relationship of a cohabiting same-sex couple living in a
stable de facto partnership is falls into the category of ‘family life’, just as would be the
case with different-sex couples in a comparable situation. In the case Vallianatos and
others v. Greece
(29381/09 and 32684/09), the court ruled that the legislative exclusion
of registered civil same-sex partnerships presents a violation of Article 14 (Prohibition of
discrimination) taken in conjunction with Article 8 (Right to respect for private and
family life). In its Opinion on the Fourth Amendment of the Fundamental Law
(Constitution) of Hungary, from 14-15 June 2013, the Venice Commission clearly stated
that a formulation with similar restrictions to family life was not aligned with Article 8 of
the European Convention on Human Rights, calling upon the reasoning provided in
Schalk and Kopf v. Austria (see above). In other words, the state is truly completely free
to define marriage as a form of union and the forming of a family (Art.12, ECHR), but as
soon as it begins granting other rights and privileges inherent to marriage to de-facto
partnerships that cannot be considered as ‘married’ under national laws (registered
partnerships), then and sexual orientation and gender identity of such individuals must
not be an obstacle to the exercise of those rights.

If this effort of the Macedonian Government gets voted by the national Parliament and
incorporated into the national Constitution, it will create precedence in European law on
restricting the right of family life through the use of Constitutional mechanisms. This
presents a danger to the development of human rights in Europe, because it is a model
that can easily be later applied in other national contexts. To be more specific, the
constitutional restriction of international human rights standards is not regulated equally
among states in Europe. Those countries that claim supremacy of domestic constitutional
law over international law can impose constitutional restrictions that are not aligned with
international human rights law and standards, and in the same time are superior in the national legal system. In return, this can make the reaction of the International
community much more difficult and much less fruitful.

We call for and encourage all our international friends, human rights and democracy
advocates to demand from the Macedonian Parliament, President and Government not to
support Amendment 33 of the constitutional changes. Also, we call for and encourage all
our partners to inform their respective Governments of the violations that this
Amendment can impose on the right to family life, and the consequences it can have in
other national contexts.


Labris is a member of Babelnor – network for LGBTQ*-youth


LGBTI children have the right to safety and equality

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) children are often victims of bullying and violence in schools, at home and via social media. This has a serious effect on their well-being and prevents openness about their personal identity. Like all children, LGBTI children are entitled to enjoy human rights and require a safe environment in order to participate fully in society.

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Responses to bullying

According to a survey carried out by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), at least 60%  of LGBT respondents had personally experienced negative comments or conduct at school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 80% had witnessed negative comments or conduct as a result of a schoolmate being perceived as LGBT. Given the frequency of negative behaviour directed at LGBT students, it is not surprising that the survey also found that two out of three LGBT children hid their LGBT identity while at school.

This situation is unacceptable. It puts a heavy burden on LGBTI children, many of whom are at high risk of suicidal behaviour. According to an Irish study, over half of LGBT respondents aged 25 or younger had given serious consideration to ending their lives. It is clear that bullying affects LGBTI children’s educational achievement and impedes their right to education without discrimination, in addition to their right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health.

School should be a safe environment for all students. The European Court of Human Rights has made it clear that homophobic speech in educational settings is not protected by the European Convention’s guarantees of free expression. Confronting homophobic and transphobic intimidation requires continuous and focused attention from schools and educational authorities. UNESCO and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) have provided detailed guidance on effective responses. Ireland has introduced legal requirements and a mandatory policy for addressing homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools, along with a concrete action plan.

Right to information

Children have the right to receive factual information about sexuality and gender diversity. Anti-bullying efforts should be supported by education on equality, gender and sexuality. The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education has highlighted children’s right to comprehensive sexual education without discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. It is necessary to question stereotypes about gender and sexuality in schools. The European Committee of Social Rights has found a violation of the European Social Charter with reference to teaching materials which were “manifestly biased, discriminatory and demeaning, notably in how persons of non-heterosexual orientation are described and depicted”.

The protection of children is sometimes evoked as an argument to block the availability of information about LGBTI people to children. The Venice Commission has stressed that such arguments fail to pass the essential necessity and proportionality tests required by the European Court. There is no evidence that dissemination of information advocating a positive attitude towards LGBTI people would adversely affect children. Rather, it is in the best interests of children to be informed about sexuality and gender diversity.

Family and homelessness

Many LGBTI children experience prejudice and violence within their own families. The acceptance of LGBTI children is still difficult for many parents and other family members. The FRA survey found out that 35 per cent of young adults were not open about being LGBT within their family.  In Montenegro, I visited a shelter and a social centre for LGBTI persons where I met young people who had been rejected by their families and forced to leave their homes. The NGO running the facility was engaged in mediating between the families and LGBTI persons, and had achieved family reconciliation in some cases.

When they are forced to leave their families, young LGBTI people are at high risk of becoming homeless.Research from the UK suggests that up to 25% of homeless youth are LGBT. The current economic crisismakes it even harder for homeless young people to find a job and shelter. When LGBTI youth cannot rely on the support of their families, the result can be long-term marginalisation with a high cost to individual health and well-being. The Albert Kennedy Trust in the UK runs both temporary shelters and more permanent accommodation options for young LGBTI persons along with social and vocational support. Municipal and state-funded services for homeless people should also strive to welcome homeless LGBTI youth.

Right to self-determination

Trans and intersex children encounter specific obstacles when exercising their right to self-determination. As minors, trans adolescents can find it difficult to access trans-specific health and support services whileintersex children are often subjected to irreversible “normalising” treatments soon after birth without their consent. The legal recognition of trans and intersex children’s sex or gender remains a huge hurdle in most countries. Children are rights-holders and they must be listened to in decision-making that concerns them. Sex or gender assigning treatment should be based on fully informed consent.

LGBTI children share many common problems. In their “Vision for 2020, trans and intersex youth in Finland gave high priority to the right to grow up in a safe environment, as well as the right to information. They also stressed “the right to a legally secured life as an equal member of society” and called for inclusive equal treatment legislation.

Empowerment and protection

This vision for the future should be today’s reality. Governments already have a duty to empower and protect LGBTI children. Respect for children’s views and the protection of the best interests of the child are clearly laid out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Human rights apply equally to LGBTI children without discrimination.

LGBTI children should be able to exercise their participatory rights in all areas of life. Access to information is a basic condition enabling participation and decision-making. At the same time, LGBTI children must be protected from violence and bullying at home, in schools, on the internet, in sports and in public spaces. Child protection services, children’s ombudspersons and the police should make particular efforts to include LGBTI children in their outreach. Governments need to take systematic action to improve the safety and equality of LGBTI children.

Nils Muižnieks

 via coe.int

Serbia Holds Its First Peaceful Gay Pride March in More Than a Decade

Serbia hosted a gay pride march Sunday, the first peaceful pro-LGBT demonstration in the country in more than a decade


The march through Belgrade, the nation’s capital, was held under heavy police security to prevent a repeat of the violence that marred a 2010 demonstration in which hundreds of people were injured.

An estimated 1,000 gay activists and their supporters carried rainbow flags and signs — some bearing the message “Pride. Normally.” — while marching along eerily empty streets with anti-riot police units positioned on almost every corner. The gathering was patrolled by several thousand policemen, who blocked off central streets and avenues throughout Belgrade.

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After the unrest in 2010, Serbian authorities banned pride marches, citing security risks and the threat of violence by far-right groups and ultra-nationalists. Only minor scuffles were reported this year and a group of 50 hooligans stoned a police cordon set up to prevent them from approaching the demonstrators. A local photographer was slightly injured during the scuffle. Another group threw firebombs at a local television broadcaster, slightly injuring two policemen.

Police choppers equipped with cameras flew above the area, and a number of businesses, including a McDonald’s restaurant, pulled down their shutters to avoid a repeat of the damage that resulted when riots broke out during Serbia’s 2010 pride parade. Belgrade police said 50 people were brought in for questioning before and during the march.

“This is just a start,” said Goran Miletic, one of the organizers of the march. “Next year, we will have less policemen, and less every year, until we will all walk free, with no need for such security.”

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Marija, 25-year-old student, came with her best friend to “show that not only gays support the pride.”

“I hope that next time, even more people — gay or straight — will come out to show that we are all equal,” Marija said.

Local media reported that members of special anti-riot police unit beat a brother of Serbian conservative Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and two members of his security team as they tried to pass through a cordon despite warnings.

Speaking to reporters after the march, Vucic said he was “personally sad” about the incident, but refused to elaborate.

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Vucic said Sunday that “there must be no violence during the pride as Serbia respects its laws and constitution.”

“No one is allowed to jeopardize the others, no one should use violence against anyone else and the state’s job is to prevent it,” Vucic told reporters ahead of the march.

A number of foreign diplomats attended the parade, including the EU delegation chief Michael Davenport. For the first time ever, several Serbian ministers and the mayor of Belgrade joined the march.

“For the first time, the [government] institutions have publicly supported the organization of the pride and media reports were more favorable for the LGBT community,” one of the organizers, Boban Stojanovic, told reporters Saturday.

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On Saturday, the ultra-nationalist far-right group Dveri organized an anti-gay counter-march in central Belgrade. No major incidents were reported during the protest, which lasted several hours and was heavily secured by the police.

The head of the influential Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, spoke up against the gay pride, saying it was “immoral” and “violently imposed by a gay lobby and their mentors from (western) Europe.”

via VICE from Serbia

Common Resolution Against Violence and Hate Crimes

A German friend and participant of our conference “The future belongs to us: LGBT rights on the road to the European Union” was attacked and seriously injured the night between the two conference days. The attack left him in life threatening condition


A German friend and participant of our conference “The future belongs to us: LGBT rights on the road to the European Union” was attacked and seriously injured the night between the two conference days. The attack left him in life threatening condition.

The organizers Labris and Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation along with co-organizers Civil Rights Defenders and YUCOM decided to change today’s conference programme to focus on moving forward after such an event.

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We decided to organize a protest march in the streets of Belgrade at noon against intolerance, hate crime and violence against minorities, since the attack is speculated to have been xenophobic.

We call upon all human rights, anti-discrimination, civil society organizations, and all people of good will to build a strong alliance against hate crime, violence and any kind of minority related hostilities such as the attack witnessed in the early hours today. This incident echoes back to the unfortunate case of Brice Taton in 2009. Further, we ask that the Serbian state act against the perpetrators of this attack and to speak out against xenophobia, homophobia, and other prejudices that plague Serbian society. The rule of law cannot be sidelined when such things occur, especially from extremists such as nationalist and hooligans.

Today was violence against one group and tomorrow it will be to another, and so on. We all, whether LGBT, Roma, religious minority, disabled, or from other discriminated groups, experience the same violence, hate speech and hate crimes and we have to stand together to protect ourselves and to cooperate for a brighter future where all people can live as free and equal citizens.

Every human being has to ask themselves in which society they want to live: In a society where some people have more rights than others or in a society where everyone has the same rights, the same chances and the same level of protection against violence?

The way a society deals with its minorities is a litmus test for its level of democracy, liberty and openness. We all have to be constantly cautious and attentive to make sure that the freedom, the rights and the liberties we have fought for are not attacked, taken away and replaced by intolerance, repression and violence.

Our thoughts and best wishes are with the victim of the attack, and we hope for his speedy recovery and well being. The participants of the conference “The future belongs to us. LGBT rights on the road to the European Union”

Belgrade, 13 September 2014

Key LGBT topics defined

As part of a larger project aimed to improve the quality of life for the LGBT community in Serbia, one of the country’s gay rights organisations has defined five topics to address the authorities with


In cooperation with the Forum for Ethnic Relations, Labris has defined five priority fields on empowering LGBT people that should be integrated into the public policy. These include: access to justice and the rule of law; security, prevention of and fight against violence; ban of discrimination; education and socio-economic stability; and LGBT culture and identity.

Photo: Guillaume Paumier

Photo: Guillaume Paumier

The topics were defined following numerous consultations the two organizations held with stakeholders. “We may look at these topics from two perspectives — the issue of lack of legislative framework and the issue of meeting the established standards of rights and freedoms,” Labris’ Dragana Todorovic said.

According to her, legislative framework in terms of standards of equality before the law, the right to judicial proceedings, ban of discrimination and access to education and health care is satisfactory. But, the implementation of the laws varies drastically.

“In addition to a comprehensive and systematized mapping of needs and finding appropriate and sustainable solutions to improve the situation of LGBT people, it is important to ensure that the proposed solutions reach out to decision makers,” Todorovic noted. Therefore, the next step is to address the authorities with these five topics.

Labris expects from politicians a partnership in the process of finding appropriate and realistic solutions. “The project offers a new beginning for sustainable and constructive cooperation between state institutions and civil society organizations working on issues of importance to the LGBT people,” Todorovic said.

This project is financially supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

Serbia is a signatory to a number of universal and regional international instruments for the protection of human rights, which clearly prohibit discrimination against LGBT people. However, for years there have been a problem with law enforcement and respect for the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

According to surveys, Serbian society remains deeply homophobic, as a result of which gay people tend to live in isolation and with a high degree of secrecy.

In 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013, the authorities banned gay parades after police declared they could not safeguard marchers against threats of violence coming from right-wing groups. The Gay Pride march went ahead in 2010, but several thousand youngsters, including football fans and members of rightist organisations, threw stones and missiles at the police, injuring police officers and setting buildings and vehicles on fire.

Belgrade-based Labris, founded in 1995, is one of the oldest lesbian human rights organizations in the region. It considers the right to different sexual orientation as one of the basic human rights. Since its foundation, Labris has conducted more than 70 projects on empowering LGBT people.

Source: Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade

Children of Same-Sex Parents Found to be Happier, Healthier than Peers

In the largest study published of its kind worldwide, the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families recently published its results from a survey of 315 same-sex parents representing 500 children aged 0-17. This study aimed to expand research on same-sex parenting that had been previously limited by smaller scope and sample sizes, and to investigate the impact of social stigma on the wellbeing of the children. However, the study overwhelmingly found that children with same-sex attracted parents scored higher than population samples on measures of child health.

The health and wellbeing of the children was assessed along multiple axes, using three standardized scales “used to measure multidimensional aspects of functioning and health-related quality of life” as well as a standardized behavioral screening that assessed social and emotional wellbeing. Perceived stigma was the other main outcome measure recorded by the study, and were assessed by a standardized stigmatization scale and compared to the health and wellbeing scales.

Of the children who participated in the study, ninety-one had male parents (18% of the results), four hundred had female parents (80% of the results) and five (1%) had an other-gendered parent.

After adjusting for socio-demographic factors, the average scores for general behavior, health, and family cohesion were 3%, 6%, and 6% higher for children from same-sex parents on the Child Health Questionnaire compared to general population values. The conclusions reached by the study were that though perceived stigma is negatively associated with mental health, the children in the study with same-sex attracted parents scored higher than their peers on multiple measures of child health. The study looks toward the future in its conclusion section, stating that “[f]uture work should further explore the ways in which stigma affects the mental health of children with same-sex attracted parents and in particular ways in which these children can be protected from experiences of discrimination,” as the study and studies like it have established that mental health impact on children of same-sex couples is a result of the stigma measure, rather than an inherent feature of same-sex parenting.

Labris at EXIT Festival

A festival attendee signs a petition at Labris's stand at EXIT.

A festival attendee signs a petition at Labris’s stand at EXIT.

Last weekend, Labris was invited to participate in the NGO sector of EXIT Festival in Novi Sad.  EXIT is a music festival that is held within the Petrovaradin Fortress that has garnered a reputation for being one of the largest and most highly-renowned festivals in Europe, attracting an audience of around 200,000 people from all over the world.

EXIT has been rooted in a tradition of civic engagement and activism since its beginnings in the year 2000 as an anti-Milošević student protest. Today, this tradition continues with an area of the festival being allocated to various NGOs and similar organizations promoting their causes during the festival. It was in this section that Labris had a table.

 

During the four days of the festival, representatives from Labris passed out materials from various campaigns in partnership with IDAHO Beograd and PFLAG including pins, bags, stickers, and flyers. Festival visitors were encouraged to sign two petitions at Labris’s stand: one against discriminatory language regarding homosexuality in psychology and biology textbooks, and one supporting Labris’s draft of a same-sex partnership law. This experience allowed us to talk to and explain the aims of our organization to people from not only all over Serbia and the Balkans, but from many other places in Europe as well.

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Mina from Labris hands out information at the NGO stand at Exit.

Art as Advocacy: Subversion at International Art Show Manifesta 10

After much international disagreement over whether or not the “roving European Biennial of Contemporary art” Manifesta should be held in its chosen location for 2014 in St. Petersburg, Russia in light of Russia’s recent LGBT-related human rights abuses including the “anti-propaganda law” that has been widely publicized in international media, International Foundation Manifesta released a response last August that they would maintain St. Petersburg as the site for Manifesta 10. The Foundation stated that “[they] believe it is vital to play an active role in this dialogue” on progressing the narrative and human rights of LGBT people in Russia, and that “[o]n principle Manifesta cannot and should not only perform in the ‘safe haven’ of the West… This inevitably involves dialogue with those with whom we may disagree.”

This response may have been a contributing factor to many of Manifesta’s participating artists choosing the route of subversion rather than boycott that had been suggested (and that, in the end, some had chosen). An article by The Guardian examines the queering of this international yet intentionally Russian art space piece by piece, from Marlene Dumas’s collection of portraits paired with quotes called Great Men which examines gay men who have made contributions to cultural history while facing discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, to Wolfgang Tillman’s photography exhibition which he references as “the gayest show [he has] done” in the article.

Upon farther inspection of Manifesta 10′s website, queer themes seem to pervade the art show and directly confront Russian culture, including a “lecture-performance” called The Tranny Tease (in English) on Turkic languages spoken in Russia and former Soviet states performed the group “Slavs and Tartars.” (Russian language description and information available here). Marlene Dumas’s Great Men shows a Russian audience the faces of Russian success, from Tchaikovsky and ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, contextualized not only by their successes but also by their sexuality and subsequent oppression. Manifesta 10 is not just a island of queered space situated temporarily and impotently against Russia’s vast expanse. In these moments, it is a direct engagement with and aggression against a country that can celebrate Tchaikovsky as a countryman but criminalize mention of his sexuality. It is in these spaces where art can uniquely engage with and challenge cultures of oppression — in Russia and beyond.

LGBT in Serbia: Trans* Issues

In recent years, Serbia has become known worldwide as a center for sex-reassignment surgeries for transgender people. Sex reassignment surgeries have been performed in Serbia since 1989, and since an amendment to the Health Insurance Law by the Parliament in 2011, Serbia has made these surgeries subsidized by state provided health insurance. Costs are also kept low for foreigners who enter the country to undergo the procedure in an act of what is now called “medical tourism” and has been noted by publications such as the New York Times in their article “Serbia Becomes a Hub for Sex-Change Surgery.”

This reporting, however, gives a false impression of the quality of life for transgender people in Serbia. According to this report to the Council of Europe, transgender people are more likely to face employment discrimination or get fired from their jobs when they are undergoing sex reassignment surgeries or procedures. This systematic disenfranchisement of transgender people in Serbia, like in many places around the world, often leads disproportionate numbers of trans* people (especially transwomen) to turn to sex work, which may be both illegal (as in Serbia) and dangerous.

Transgender people in Serbia are also more likely to face violent attack. In 2009, transgender woman Minja Kočiš was brutally attacked and killed in her own apartment in Belgrade. In writing, the Anti-Discrimination Law is in place as the first piece of Serbian legislation that prohibits discrimination on the grounds of “gender or gender change” in addition to sexual orientation; however, this is often not enforced on the level of the Serbian courts, where hate crimes are often not recognized as such but rather as misdemeanor charges.

There also exist many issues for transgender people to obtain proper legal status in Serbia. Though sex reassignment surgeries may be legal and available in Serbia, there currently exists no path available for a transgender person to legally change their name and gender status on governmental documents, or their personal identification number. There is no legislation in place that would regulate family law issues pertaining to trans* people post-transition, and there is no protection of the right for the partners of trans* people or the parental rights of trans* people. As noted by this shadow report made to the UN on the status of LGBT people in Serbia, this lack of legislation concerning transgender issues is tantamount to a denial of legal recognition of transgender people in Serbia, and is in blatant violation of Articles 16 and 17 of the ICCPR as well as Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

It is a bizarre juxtaposition to see Serbia often cited in international media and by celebrities  as the ultimate destination for cheap but high-quality sex reassignment surgeries, while in Serbia trans* people still face discrimination in employment despite legislation, and have virtually no avenue for legal recognition of a medical/legal change in their sex.