Ministry of Youth and Sports and Ministry of Health support systemic solution of the status of GLBT people

There is a need for a systemic and longterm solution of the status of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people in Serbia, it was concluded at the meetings between Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and the representatives of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Health.

After the series of meetings with parliamentary political parties, GSA has started a dialogue with the government institutions, bearing in mind their responsibility for the condition of human rights of all Serbian citizens and the crucial role in the process of solving the problems met daily by members of the GLBT population, such as homophobia, violence and discrimination.

Assistant to the Minister of Youth and Sports Snežana Klašnja condemned every form of violence and discrimination, emphasising that this Ministry recognises the GLBT population as particularly vulnerable to these threats. It was stated at the meeting that the National Strategy for Youth was written following the principles of respect for human rights and it represents a solid basis the implementation of which provides a good opportunity for cooperation in finding solutions for priority problems of GLBT population, violence and discrimination, as well as the freedom of gathering.

The representatives of the Ministry agree with GSA that it is necessary to create a longterm strategy and to include the government institutions along with the representatives of GLBT population in its creation and implementation. Representatives of GSA and the Ministry also agree that the Pride Parade is an effective means for increasing the visibility of the GLBT population and the problems which they face every day. A particular problem which was highlighted was the fact that young people who are members of sports fan groups or extremist right-wing organisations take part in violence and threats towards the GLBT population. The Ministry of Youth and Sports stated that the solution to this problem depends equally on the prevention of such behaviour as well as on processing and sanctioning the violent youth.

At the meeting with the assistant to the Minister of Health Dr Ivana Mišić, GSA pointed out the most common prejudice which GLBT people have to face – that homosexuality is a disease – even though the World Health Organisation reached the decision 20 years ago to finally take homosexuality off the list of diseases, and this was further confirmed by the Serbian Physician Association two years ago. GSA said that this prejudice often serves as an excuse for violence against the GLBT population and pointed out the need for experts and representatives of the Ministry to actively and unequivocally take part in fighting this prejudice, among their own health workers as well as in the public.

The Ministry of Health have expressed readiness to help improve the position of GLBT people in that domain which comes under their jurisdiction, and they have proposed a set of steps which can contribute to this end.

GSA Info Center