Borislav is a 22-year-old gay man living in Sarajevo. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country with deep-rooted patriarchal values in many segments of society, very resistant to change, especially when it comes to sexual orientation. Negative attitudes and harassment towards the LGBTI community remains an issue. Association XY provides services to marginalized populations, including LGBTI individuals.
“Noticing how people spoke about homosexuals, I came to the conclusion that being gay was bad. I decided to shut it out, forget about it. What else could I do? I couldn't change and was terrified of revealing my secret. I became introverted and kept a low profile, so as not to draw attention to myself.
My main anxiety was the prospect of telling my parents that I was gay.
Recently, I came out to my family. Since then my life has turned upside down. My parents didn’t deal with it very well, and they think it’s an illness. They have been controlling almost every move I make since then and they even had taken me to the psychologist. Apparently, no one noticed my depression, no one noticed my sadness. I felt alone. I started to feel depressed and I desperately needed someone to talk with. And one day on social network for gay people, I saw a profile for Association XY.
After some time, I decided to go to the drop-in-centre in Sarajevo. Their welcome was very warm, friendly; they offered me coffee and some refreshment. Then I had strictly confidential talk with coordinator of the drop-in-centre. I talked to this guy and he helped me realize a few very important things. He helped me to bring out happiness in me that I thought I lost. I know I have a long way ahead of me but this guy helped me to find a right way to go.
Further, I’ve found myself ready to test myself on HIV and, thanks to Association XY, I feel like a more responsible and aware person when it comes to my health. In some way, they helped me to help myself and I am thankful for that.”
Association XY is a non-governmental, non-political, non-profitable organization which works to improve sexual and reproductive health for all in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the LGBTI community. It runs one main clinic which promotes equal access to SRH information, education and services, and it advocates at government level for the adoption of improved SRH policies.