I came to do some tests regarding my driver’s license, and the very next day to do the final driving test.
Honestly, that took a long time, but I told myself: “I won’t do the driving test until I perfect my driving skills.” There was also this situation with my ID, where it says F (for female). I thought the following situation would occur: I would come to the test with my not-so-full beard, give my ID, and then they would have trouble identifying me, followed by an unpleasant scene in a room with around 30 extra people, where I would have to explain my medical history and laws in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Life can’t be postponed, I thought, whatever happens I’ll take it. We can just prepare and try to change some stuff.
Tests went great, everything was fine until this girl who worked there said “Ali, can I see your ID for a moment? Well... There’s a small problem, I don’t know if it’s a mistake or something, did you see it on your ID?”
I laughed at the moment, you know? I mean, how wouldn’t I laugh? It’s the laugh where you, for a moment, close the eyes and silently laugh a little bit, that laugh reserved for very specific situations. I didn’t take out my ID to check if there’s a mistake, I knew what was in question, I took a long time beforehand just looking at that ID, with pride – my name is finally there. It’s actually a pretty rare ID, just like Blue-Eyed White Dragon card in Yu-Gi-Oh. There’s not many of them. It took me two months to deal with administrative processes to have it in my hands. I’m thinking of organizing a monumental exhibition for my ID, let everyone see it. But, in situations that lead to unnecessary complications, I really wish my ID exists in sync with audio-visual appearance so it can morph into those “common” IDs.
I told her it’s not a mistake, and explained that it’s in fact a very specific ID. The question on whether my sex listed on my ID is a mistake, well, it has a bit more complex answer.
Is the sex on the ID a mistake? No. Gender and sex are separate categories. So, is the mistake on the girl working there or perhaps my doctor? No. Is the mistake on the administrative and health system in Bosnia and Herzegovina? Yes, it is. Is it a mistake that it’s possible for my doctor to put M on my medical documents, while my ID says F? It is. Is it my mistake I didn’t guide the doctors and explain them my situations? Yes. Is it a mistake that transgender people in Bosnia and Herzegovina face complications? Yes. Is it a mistake that I’m forced to be a part of educating people around me in these unpleasant situations, or even to write about this right now? Yes, it is.
Whose mistake is it?
The mistake lies on the healthcare system and all other institutions that treat ALL of minorities as non-existent in this country. Rest of the population is treated like fools, and we, the minorities, are not treated at all. Imagine the irony where you’re disprivileged even in comparison to the majority of people that are treated like pawns and fools in this system. The majority at least exists in this neanderthal and absurd system. And the worst of it all, many of them are grateful for the current system, just for the sake that it exists, and because it’s ours.
Meanwhile, transgender people are also citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and they too have personal documents. But regulation of documents of transger people is still not processed, which can lead to problems such as these, and much more complex obstacles. In some cases, the restrictions prohibit even the basic human rights of transgeder people.
Getting back to the story. So, it seems I’m not on the list with the rest of the candidates to attend the final driving test tomorrow, my application is postponed for tomorrow. I think to myself, this is a minor inconvenience assisted by invisibility of transgender people in our legal and healthcare system. Not a problem of vital importance, I’m gonna survive, I’ll pass the test, all of this will be a yesterday.
But, what else will be a yesterday?
Administrative law about sex label on the ID, this damn healthcare and legal system, and every other discrimination against transgender people who one day won’t encounter these problems, or similar ones, or much worse situations.
Transgender people deal with problems during doctor’s appointments, employment, administrative processes of any kind. They are stigmatized in society and the system. And next time when you complain about how me, Ali, or anyone else bores other of LGBTIQ topics, just come back to this article and read it again. You can be selfish and think that our problems don’t deserve attention, since we have “much bigger problems” (which I agree with, major problems are a bigger priority, so I won’t hold you back, so don’t hold me back as well), but trust me that we will annoy you until change is made. Simply because I went through this unpleasant scenarios and because many others have it a 100 times worse, it doesn’t mean that anyone else should ever have to suffer.
What must be done, will eventually be done.
I would honestly be happy if all of us get angry for at least one thing that annoys us regarding our system, and I bet in 5 years we’d make Norway out of our country. Let’s solve all the problems, let’s support each other in “annoying” the masses and the system. A normal country should be the happiness of you, or me, but the happiness of us all. Or, if not happiness, at least dignity and equal rights for us all.
As one of the girls from the driving school said: “I already told them, I don’t care what the ID says, just apply him!”
That lead to another smile, full of hope for people and a better tomorrow.
I don’t care what the problems are, just solve them. I believe in all of us and thanks for your attention.
Author: Ali Huremović.
This article was written as part of the project "Access to Justice for LGBTI persons in Tuzla Canton", which is funded by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. The article does not necessarily express the views of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, but only the author