Responsibility for sexual health brings happiness in Bosnia and Herzegovina

#IDAHOT2015 - Stories from LGBTI youth across the Federation. 'LGBTI youth' is the focus of this year's International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

#IDAHOT2015 - Stories from LGBTI youth across the Federation. 'LGBTI youth' is the focus of this year's International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

 

The IPPF Sexual Diversity Network has published a compilation of stories to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May 2015.

In recognition of this year's global campaign focus on ‘LGBTI Youth’, these stories highlight the commitment of the IPPF Member Associations that directly support and uphold the sexual rights of young people of diverse sexual and gender identities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) young people.

 

The broad breadth of their work include partnering with the LGBTI community, including young people; creating safe spaces for LGBTI young people; making services accessible and appropriate for LGBTI young people; and increasing public awareness and advocacy of LGBTI issues, including comprehensive sexuality education.
Each story is from the voice of a young person involved in the Member Association's work with LGBTI youth, and describes the impact this support has had on their lives, as well as other young people

 

 Here is the story of Borislav

 

Borislav is a 22-year-old gay man living in Sarajevo. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country with deep-rooted patriarchal values in many segments of society, very resistant to change, especially when it comes to sexual orientation. Negative attitudes and harassment towards the LGBTI community remains an issue. Association XY provides services to marginalized populations, including LGBTI individuals.

“Noticing how people spoke about homosexuals, I came to the conclusion that being gay was bad. I decided to shut it out, forget about it. What else could I do? I couldn't change and was terrified of revealing my secret. I became introverted and kept a low profile, so as not to draw attention to myself.

My main anxiety was the prospect of telling my parents that I was gay.

Recently, I came out to my family. Since then my life has turned upside down. My parents didn’t deal with it very well, and they think it’s an illness. They have been controlling almost every move I make since then and they even had taken me to the psychologist. Apparently, no one noticed my depression, no one noticed my sadness. I felt alone. I started to feel depressed and I desperately needed someone to talk with. And one day on social network for gay people, I saw a profile for Association XY. 

After some time, I decided to go to the drop-in-centre in Sarajevo. Their welcome was very warm, friendly; they offered me coffee and some refreshment. Then I had strictly confidential talk with coordinator of the drop-in-centre. I talked to this guy and he helped me realize a few very important things. He helped me to bring out happiness in me that I thought I lost. I know I have a long way ahead of me but this guy helped me to find a right way to go.

Further, I’ve found myself ready to test myself on HIV and, thanks to Association XY, I feel like a more responsible and aware person when it comes to my health. In some way, they helped me to help myself and I am thankful for that.”

 

Association XY is a non-governmental, non-political, non-profitable organization which works to improve sexual and reproductive health for all in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the LGBTI community. It runs one main clinic which promotes equal access to SRH information, education and services, and it advocates at government level for the adoption of improved SRH policies. All young people, including young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & intersex people, have the right to grow up in safe and welcoming environments, where they can develop their personalities and talents respectfully of their individualities.
This right is guaranteed under international human rights law, however young people are specifically at high risk of being exposed to homophobic, transphobic or biphobic attitudes and expressions within the family, educational institutions, the health system, and social settings.
Health issues are also an area of concern for young LGBTI people, including sexual and reproductive health. Often information and services are not inclusive of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities, denying access to the information and support required to maintain health and well-being. Young transgender and intersex people face particular challenges, including access to appropriate treatment. 

For more information about IDAHOT and the global focus on LGBTI youth:  
http://dayagainsthomophobia.org/in-2015-take-action-for-lgbti-youth/