Finally the left wing SP talks about LGBT in the Albanian Parliament

Submitted by Aleanca LGBT & Pro LGBT

Representatives of the Socialist Party (left wing) raised for the first time today during a hearing of the Parliamentary Commission for Social issues and Health the problem of discrimination of LGBT community in the field of health.

During the meeting Mrs. Klodiana Spahiu a MP from the Socialist Party distributed to the members of the commission a report on the situation of LGBT community and the discrimination towards this group in the health system. This report was prepared by Aleanca LGBT and Pro LGBT. Mrs. Spahiu urged the commission to invite next week representatives of LGBT organizations in order to give them the possibility to raise their concerns in the presence of MPs and in the presence of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner.

Please find below this report that Aleanca LGBT and Pro LGBT have prepared for the parliamentary commission. Recently these organizations have been raising questions to SP regarding their stand on several LGBT issues. It was the SP itself that approached the two organizations to ask them regarding their thoughts.

Report- The access of LGBT community in the health system and its problems

The LGBT community has started to be more aware of their rights during the last years in Albania.
Health is one of the major fields where we have identified infringements of human rights and direct or indirect discrimination.
Even though the organizations that protect and promote the rights of this community doesn’t have yet the necessary infrastructure to document all the cases, in our offices different cases have been reported from members of the community regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the Albanian hospitals.

“Hormonal Treatment”

Without using concrete names we would like to underline our concern regarding the fact that even during 2013 in the middle of Europe, in a country that officially guarantees by law the protection from discrimination there are still familiars that believe that their homosexual children can be cured through hormones, and what is more disturbing there are still doctors who take the responsibility to try to do this!
We have had two concrete cases related with two male gays of the community whose parents have sent them to public and private hospital doctors asking them to “cure” their children with hormones. The behavior of the doctors in these cases has been not ethical. They have recommended specific cures which the boys have been forced to take because of the family pressure. Most of these cases happen towards a boy who doesn’t conform to the gender norms. In one of the cases the person who has been taking these cures has suffered severe psychological and physical damage.

Regarding this issue it’s disturbing the fact that some doctors, professors in universities of Medicine or even politicians continue to treat homosexuality as a disease. We would like to recall the case of the declaration of the MP. Mr Tritan Shehu, who stated that: “homosexuality is a disease that should be cured with hormonal treatments”. For this specific case on 30 September 2011 the office of the commissioner against discrimination send to Mr Tritan Shehu recommendations asking him the above mentioned:

Mr Shehu should avoid declarations with discriminatory notes in the future, as these statements influence in the development of a tensioned and non friendly atmosphere with the LGBT community in Albania (in this framework we inform Mr Shehu that homosexuality has been removed from the classification of mental illness and is not treated as such anymore).

Medical textbooks

The curricula of the Faculty of Law and Medicine have discriminatory terms regarding homosexuality. Students of the Faculty of Law and Medicine in Albania, in academic texts approved by the relevant departments learn, among other things, that homosexuality is a sexual perversion. Specifically in the publication of Legal Medicine, authored by prof. dr. Sokrat Meksi and prof. dr. Bardhyl Cipi (2003) is provided a categorization of sexual perversions, which among others included homosexuality. Even the term "homosexual" is a discriminatory term for the LGBT community, as it constitutes a wrong medical description of the sexual behavior.

Transgender community, access in health care and Council of Europe

It’s difficult sometimes even impossible for the transgender community to have access to health care. During august 2011 Xheni Karaj Director of Aleanca LGBT together with a transgender woman went in the Mother Theresa hospital for a medical visit. The doctor of the emergency said to the activist: “Why don’t you leave this people die” and refused to treat the transgender woman. Another doctor who decided to treat the transgender was staying like 1 meter away from her because she was afraid to even touch her. “During all our visit in the hospital the doctors used a derogatory language and ironic jokes towards us”, recalled Karaj.

Based on the last report of Transgender Europe, Ilga Europe and the Commissioner for Human Rights Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in Europe , Albania is listed among the member states whose medical services make no provision for gender reassignment treatment, and where recovery of costs for such treatment is "highly problematic". It also states that Albania is one of the member states where it has failed to identify any legislation regulating legal gender recognition.

The failure of the Albanian authorities to provide the medical facilities for gender reassignment treatment (or the alternative of such treatment abroad), and to ensure that medical insurance covers, or contributes to the coverage of such medically necessary treatment, on a non-discriminatory basis, are evidence that Albania does not meet the requirement to provide effective access to health care for all, without discrimination

Prepared by:

Aleanca LGBT (representative Xheni Karaj)

Pro LGBT (representative Kristi Pinderi)

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