June 18, 2018

Trans* community in Serbia faces severe consequences of legislation change


“We are reaching out to you to pass the information and draw attention to our concerns about the state of trans* community in the Republic of Serbia.

Namely, the Law on Amendment of the Law on Registry books has been drafted and prepared to be presented to the MPs for adoption. The draft Law predicts the possibility of changing unique social security number (further on: JMBG) for trans* persons. But, with a “little” catch.”


By introducing aesthetic changes on the Law on registry books, the state strives to present itself as a great friend of trans* community in Serbia. With proposed changes it is foreseen that trans* persons after gender reassignment surgery can enlist this fact in the registry books, which is being communicated as a significant change in light of improving state of trans* persons in Serbia.

But, the government and the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government are hiding their intentions of leaving 20.000 people in the legal vacuum. It is estimated that this is the number of people who, for numerous reasons can’t or won’t undergo the gender reassignment surgery. This means that for 20.000 citizens of the Republic of Serbia healthcare, employment, voting, opening a bank account, etc. still remains impossible.

EGAL is thankful to MPs Ljupka Mihajlovski and Tatjana Macura who have recognized our initiative and appeal for ensuring complete legal visibility of the entire trans* community and stressed out crucial gaps in this proposed law, during their presenting in the public debate in the National Assembly.

Insisting on the surgical part of transition process, the gender reassignment surgery, sterilization and physical mutilation is considered to be against Constitution, by being humiliating for trans* persons, jeopardizing physical integrity of everyone affected by the intention of the Serbian government. From the Prime Minister we expect at least a glimpse of solidarity and prevention of the proposed solution.

Moreover, we remind the Government of the Republic of Serbia on its duty to approach solving the challenge of legal visibility of trans* community in line with the ruling of the European Human Rights Court, from April last year. Every other solution will open up the possibility for trans* community members to sue the Republic of Serbia in front of this court. We hope that the state will avoid such a situation this time, considering that these kind of litigation will be ruled in favor of trans* community, taking into account existing jurisprudence. Fiscal responsibility the Republic of Serbia strives to demonstrate over the previous years is an additional reason for meeting the needs of trans* persons.

For all the mentioned reasons, among other things, the slogan of this year’s “Pride Serbia” is “Registrar, normally!”. All the demands are directed towards the scope of work of the registry books services and institutions around them. We are fighting for equal rights of every citizen every day. “Pride Serbia” is another important step, which is why we urge the public to support this protest and join us on the June 23 for a joint walk towards more open and safer society for all of us.

Anđela Čeh
Citizen Association EGAL

Read more about the topic here and here.


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