SOCIAL PROTECTION AND ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE FOR TRANSGENDER PEOPLE IN KOSOVO

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In the last couple of years the predicament of the LGBT community has come to light and the issues faced by the community are being discussed more openly. Transgender persons are just one part of that community and due to a lack of understanding they remain as individuals who are misunderstood and are likely to face discrimination in different spheres of life.


It is with such a situation and conditions in mind that this research was commissioned. It considers the different elements that make up the umbrella term transgender, as well as the legal framework, the experiences of some transgender persons (albeit limited), as well social protection and access to healthcare.
As a term transgender encompasses different methods in which an individual can express their gender identity. This may be on a temporary basis as a cross dresser or transvestite or it could be on a permanent basis having undergone hormonal treatment and surgery. The lack of understanding as to why an individual may want to express a different gender identity is one of the causes of prejudice.


Transgender persons involved in this research provide some insight into how they have gone about to express their gender identity with the majority of cases being through dressing in the opposite gender. This resulted in not only misunderstanding but also rejection. Yet what is exceptionally important to note is the consequences of none acceptance or rejection which can include self harm or suicide.


However, the social workers interviewed provided interesting viewpoints relating to services for transgender persons. For some the matter of assistance required a human rights focused approach, others saw it as providing services to individuals like any other class of the public. The majority display a general acceptance of transgender persons, although it is not clear as how honest such viewpoints are.

In healthcare, health professionals had some awareness of the issues and what their role would be. Some had a limited knowledge of the legal framework. However, quite a number also committed Social Protection and Access to Healthcare for Transgender People in Kosovo
they would assist an individual who wanted more information relating to transitioning. Further, there was a general willingness amongst some of the professionals that they or science should be grappling with these issues on behalf of patients. On the other hand some health professionals openly expressed their disagreement with such a move. Others also questioned the role that health professionals have and have openly expressed disagreement with transgender rights. However, the majority of social workers and health professionals saw the benefits of training, as well as working in multidisciplinary teams to support individuals affected.


The report concludes that whilst we may see some areas that have progressed, we should not be satisfied where more could have been done. In this regard the report provides number recommendations, which if followed through would further the rights of individuals to their private life and to live a life in dignity.