BELGRADE – A Serbian doctor has thrown a spotlight on a “discriminatory” new law with a dramatic pledge to change her gender after she was told to retire earlier than her male colleagues.
Mirjana Stanojcic, 64, was informed by her hospital bosses in central Serbia that she would have to hang up her white coat this month when the legislation came into force. The law passed in July – in a bid to trim the Balkan country’s bloated state budget – requires female public sector employees to retire at 60 years and six months, while men can work until they are 65.
Previously both sexes could continue working beyond the retirement age if they wished to do so.
“I have a male colleague who is the same age as I am, and I have been told to retire while he will keep working,” Stanojcic told AFP. “I decided to become a man and keep working in accordance with the law.”
Stanojcic, a physical therapy specialist in the small town of Gornji Milanovac, has received widespread media attention in Serbia since applying for the lengthy process of sex reassignment.
Following the press coverage, along with appeals from Serbia’s ombudsman and the equalities commissioner, the constitutional court has suspended the new law’s enforcement until it makes a final ruling.
Stanojcic was buoyed by the suspension but said she would continue with the sex change procedure – even though she would be over 65 on its completion.
“I do not know what the final court decision will be, so I will keep going,” she said, adding that her move had won support from female colleagues across the country.
“This is the only way to fight this discrimination.”