October 18 and 19, an international conference "Interaction of non-profit organizations of Northern Europe in the field of social and health services for LGBT people" were held in Murmansk; it was attended by representatives of the Russian LGBT organizations "Rakurs" (Arkhangelsk), "Maximum" (Murmansk) and "Federation of LGBT Sports in Russia", as well as professional therapists, psychologists and social workers. However, organizers of the conference were denied in renting just before the start of the event.
“The renter (one of the Murmansk institutions) refused without explanation. But, unfortunately, there is such a rule in Russia, when NGO is refused to grant the premises on the eve of the event. But we provided for all contingencies, and we had another area, so the conference began with only a slight delay in half an hour,” head of "Maximum" Sergei Alekseenko said to «7x7».
On the first day, participants discussed the problems of people considered to be transgender: those whose biological sex doesn’t match the social one. As the head of the department of Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Clinical Psychology, St. Petersburg State Pediatric Medical University Dmitry Isaev said, there have been a commission on gender reassignment at the university since 1991, and he is a chairman. According to him, over the past four years, they were approached by 260 transgender men and 106 women.
Statistics show that there are more "biological women" in Russia to restore their sex. The situation is opposite in the world. Basically transgender face problems such as lack of legal documents and laws with the procedure for changing the sex.
According to Dmitry Isaev, in general there are no educational publications and research funding related to gender identity in Russian science. And since there are no studies, no specialists, there is also no professional literature. As a consequence, people who feel discomfort in their bodies can’t address specialists.
In the second day of the conference the case touched on the health of gay men and lesbians. Experts have noted that breast cancer is more common among lesbians than heterosexual women. This is due to the fact that they usually don’t have children, and rarely go to doctors for preventive purposes. Physician visit for many members of the LGBT community is a real torture, as there they often have to speak frankly about their family, sexual relations, and not every doctor will normally react on gay. As a result, representatives of the LGBT community fall into a vicious circle: don’t visit the experts, store up all their troubles.
A lot of time was contributed to HIV and AIDS. Social workers admitted that they contacted directly with representatives of the LGBT community very rarely because of shame. According to the head physician of the Murmansk Regional Centre for the Prevention and Control of AIDS and Infectious Diseases Vyacheslav Zinkevych, "Finally, they met for the first time in many years, met and now will work."
“We are very pleased that we were able to engage specialists and health professionals, representatives of organizations involved in service activities from different cities of Russia, as well as the neighboring countries of Finland and Norway. Conference convened in the active way, there was an understanding of common problems identified by both Russian and foreign delegates,” the head of the organization "Maximum" Sergei Alekseenko commented on the results of its two-day meeting to «7x7».
Alexander Borisov, «7x7»