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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: November 2019

Serbia: Transgender Issues before the Constitutional Court of Serbia



Gender identity is one of the most fundamental aspects of life. According to the Yogyakarta Principles, gender identity refers to each person's deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech and mannerisms. Transgenderism is an umbrella notion and includes people whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned at birth and also people who feel the need to express themselves differently from the expected gender role assigned at birth, through clothing, decoration, behaviour, speech form, cosmetics or body. Those people do not identify or express themselves as male or female. Therefore, transgenderism includes transgender and transsexual people, transvestites, cross-dressers and very oft en intersex people.

Transsexuality is defined as an extreme form of gender dysphoria: when a person with all external characteristics of one sex at the same time firmly believes that he or she belongs to another sex. The syndrome of gender dysphoria means feeling uncomfortable due to incompatibility between one's own gender identity and gender role, on the one hand, and biological sex, i.e. primary and secondary sex characteristics, on the other hand. In addition, transsexuality is considered a gender identity disorder according to the 10th Revision of International Classification of Diseases (‘ICD-10’) that was officially adopted at the 43rd Assembly of World Health Organization in May 1990. Therefore, transsexuality is a desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by a sense of discomfort with, or inappropriateness of, one's anatomic sex, and a wish to have surgery and hormonal treatment to make one's body as congruent as possible with one's preferred sex.


Until recently, in Serbia there was no legal framework to change legal gender status or personal documents of transgender persons after having undergone gender reassignment surgery.