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Commissioner for Protection of Equality: Trans* Major Helena has been discriminated against

Commissioner for Protection of Equality Nevena Petrušić has enacted an opinion stating Headquarters of the Army of Serbia and Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Serbia have been discriminated trans* major during the retirement procedure.

"Commissioner’s standing point is that part of the note made by Human Resources Administration of the Headquarters of the Army of Serbia on 8th of October 2014, as well as part of the order made by Ministry of Defense no. 1-422 issued on 22nd of October 2014, expressing an explicit attitude that Helena (M.V.), being a transsexual, can cause harmful effects on the reputation of the Army of Serbia, are breaching article 12 of the Law on prohibition of discrimination. This law forbids discrimination and humiliating behavior aiming to, or representing violation of persons’ or group’s dignity on the basis of their personal characteristic, especially if mentioned behavior creates fear or hostile and disrespectful environment”, as stated in the Commissioner’s opinion brought on 3rd of April 2015.

 

“The statement itself that Helena (M.V.), due to expressing her gender identity which is different from her biologically acquired (anatomic) sex can cause harmful consequences to the reputation of the Army of Serbia represents an insult and violates Helena’s dignity. This humiliating and offensive statement contributes to widely spread transphobia, negative stereotypes and prejudice, along with stigmatization and intolerance towards trans* persons”, claims the Commissioner’s opinion.

Aiming to provide appropriate moral satisfaction and prevent further discrimination against trans* military personnel, the Commissioner has recommended Headquarters of the Army of Serbia and Ministry of Defense to adders a written apology to Helena, as well as to take measures to reduce transphobia, increase tolerance and prevent discrimination against trans* military personnel, and to notify the Commissioner on conducted activities.

Citizen association “Egal” welcomes the Commissioner’s opinion, especially taking into account its comprehensiveness. In her statement, the Commissioner calls upon not only to the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and the Law on prohibition of Discrimination, but also on international documents and intern rules and regulations of the Headquarters of the Army of Serbia and Ministry of Defense explicitly prohibiting discrimination. This opinion, also, not only provides Helena’s moral satisfaction, but also imposes authorized institutions to prevent further discrimination of trans* military personnel, reduce transphobia and increase tolerance.

Commissioner’s detailed description of bad social status of trans* persons, lesbians, gay men and bisexuals, presented in the opinion, is also important.

Citizen Association “Egal” hopes that opinion represents a warning not only to the Army of Serbia and Ministry of Defense, but also to the other government institutions, not to discriminate against the citizens of Serbia on the basis of any personal characteristic. Moreover, the example of trans* major Helena’s just struggle is to serve as an inspiration for us all to fight for our rights and against discrimination.