Bosnia and Herzegovina
For the third year in a row, the Sarajevo Open Center (SOC), together with other organisations, organised a series of events in commemoration of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The title of the events and campaign was ‘POLJUBAC NIJE SKANDAL!’ (A Kiss is not a Scandal!)
From May 6th to 19th, through various types of activities (workshops, round tables) as well as a media campaign (TV, radio, press, internet), the Sarajevo Open Centre sent the message that a kiss between two gay pilots is not a scandal, that love is a human need, and that together, it is possible to fight against all types of violence and discrimination and for a more tolerant and better Bosnian-Herzegovinian society.
On May 17, together with the group Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, the Cure Foundation and with the support of the European Union, the SOC organised a print campaign: ‘Live and let love!’ which consists of mini campaigns and is connected to the project ‘Coming out! Advocating and Protecting LGBT People’, a visual campaign in newspapers.
There was also a training session organised for mental health experts called ‘(R)education on homophobia and transphobia’. This training was dedicated to experts from the field of mental health, with the goal of providing more education and improving knowledge of the specificities connected with LGB communities, and especially trans* communities, and consisted of prevention as well as therapeutic work.
On May 17, the SOC also asked several public figures to say what they think about the current situation when it comes to homophobia and transphobia in BiH, and whether BiH should officially mark this date, and therefore show commitment to respect the laws that are there to protect LGBT people from discrimination and violence. The statements collected include the musician Grof Đuraz, the director Selma Spahić, the psychologist Srđan Puhalo, the politician Besima Borić and the journalist and activist Husein Oručević.
In Bosnia & Herzegovina, violent attacks on LGBT communities are not unknown, and verbal attacks frequently occur on the internet and in public spaces. These events are therefore an important tool to raise awareness about the situation of LGBT people in BiH and beyond. The full program of the events can be found here.