Inspiring experience regarding municipalities’ obligations

Slobodanka Boba Dekic is a project coordinator at Mediacentar, Sarajevo. Her lecture at the ICLD-programme “Local Governance with a Rights Based Approach” in Zlatibor, focused on the Agenda 2030 goal #10 – reducing inequality within and among countries. She addressed the topic to politicians and civil servants from municipalities in Serbia and Georgia.
High on the agenda: the municipalities role in protecting LGBTI-people’s rights.
Describe the situation for LGBTI-people in your region.

“The situation is not the worst in the world, but it is still far from good. There are laws that warrant protection from discrimination and violence. However, in reality, most of these laws are not applicable, or simply not implemented by the institutions” she says. 

The lecture was interactive and engaging, and the openness of the participants to discuss the issues regardless of their opinions, Boba says, was very important. She faced a few questions that could be perceived as provocative, but often asked a question in return which challenged the participants to suggest a solution of their own.

What can municipalities do to safeguard the rights of LGBTI-people?
“They can provide support at a local level and it is important that administrative issues are regulated in the municipality. Trans persons who are in the administrative process of name change, or changing their ID number, have to be understood and treated with respect from the municipality personnel working on these issues.”
Her point throughout the lecture was that anyone, regardless of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic, should be treated with respect and dignity.
“Unfortunately, that is not always the case” she says.
What are the main issues that LGBTI-activists are fighting for in your country and region?
“Always violence – physical, verbal, cyber – as a result of being homo- bi- and transphobic. Bullying of students who have a different gender identity, expression or sexual orientation is something that we are currently working on. Organizing Pride Parades remains very challenging and continues to be an important activity in the region.”
The lecture for ICLD’s ITP-group in Zlatibor – what do you think about these kinds of meetings?
“They can definitely contribute to a better understanding of the needs and problems of LGBTI-people, but also clarify what LGBTI means. It was a very, very interesting and inspiring experience, and I really hope that we will have more of these encounters” says Slobodanka Boba Dekic.