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Lithuania IDAHO Report 2013

Various events took place in the capital Vilnius, including a film screening of the documentary Beyond the Pink Curtain – which looks at homophobia in the East and West of Europe, a discussion about the safety of coming out in Lithuanian society, and a previewof the new Baltic Pride 2013 campaign videos. A successful Bi-Meetup event was also held, in which people came together to explore biphobia in their personal attitudes and within the community, involving a game of biphobic bingo. LGBT activists also took the occasion of May 17, to send each Member of Parliament in Lithuania a postcard drawing attention to a European Recommendations urging member states to take measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. Screenings of the film Right2Love were also held in Vilnius and the city of Kaunas.

Film screening of documentary Beyond the Pink Curtain, discussion and Pride video preview

On May 17th Lithuanian Gay League (LGL) screened “Beyond the Pink Curtain” at Cinema Skalvija in Vilnius (6:30 pm). The film looks at homophobia in both the East and West of Europe and the role of the European Union in anti-discrimination. The screening was followed by a discussion and launch event. Organisers offered the following report:

‘On 17 May 2013, i.e. International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), the LGL organized the “three-in-one” event at Skalvija cinema centre: (1) the screening of the documentary film “Beyond the Pink Curtain”; (2) the following discussion, titled “Open and Safe?”; (3) the preview of the Baltic Pride 2013 promotional videos. The discussion mainly focused on the topic of public visibility of LGBT* individuals in Lithuania. The panel of the public discussion included psychologist, criminologist, LGL representatives and members of the local LGBT* community. As a result, the benefits and the possible negative consequences of living openly as an LGBT person in the Lithuanian society were discussed. In addition to this, the discussion addressed the following questions: why is it important to be open about one’s sexual orientation or gender identity? why the society does not accept individuals for who they are? what is hate crime and why it is committed? why the hate against LGBT* people gets so much public support? The questions from the audience were answered as well.

The general impression I got from the discussion is that there is so much unsaid things, which need just a simple conversation and a dialogue within the community itself. Taken in an account the extremely diverse background of the speakers in the pannel, the complexity of LGBT* every-day reality was captured quite successfully, thus effectively setting the tone for further conversation.’

 Lithuania-IDAHO

On the eve of the Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Lithuanian Gay League also drew attention to the often overlooked bisexual community by hosting a bi meet-up where people could discuss and share ideas, over coffee or tea (LGBT Centre in Vilnius, 6:30 pm). One of the organisers reported that the event was very successful, with more planned for the future:

‘It was really informal, cozy and structureless meeting where people coming from different backgrounds could feel safe and welcome. And it was great for everyone, to enjoy company of strangers whom we all had so much in common. We started with a small introduction of ourselves also answering a question “why I am here?”. Not every participant was bisexual, some of them were just curious about what the meeting will be about while others were genuinely interested in the topic.

Then we moved towards playing a game (which in fact was an informal training method) – biphobic bingo, where everyone had to talk to others and find out if they ever in their lives heard certain remarks, sayings of biphobic nature (like “you should make up your mind”, “I wish my girlfriend was bi too”, “I was bisexual once, before I turned gay”, “you are just scared to admit that you are gay”, etc). We have a lot of fun with this and used this fun method to discuss a lot of important issues like: coming out as a non monosexual person, biphobia and homophobia around us, LGBT movement and so on.

Our meeting ended with everyone saying that such peer group is useful and they would attend it again and again and invite friends with them too. In July, before Baltic Pride, I think we will have another meeting, this time it would be useful to bring an aspect of bi empowerment.’

For more details please see the facebook event page.

You can find out more information and make contact with the organisers through the LGL facebook page.

Postcard Campaign

The Lithuanian Gay League also sent a postcard to each Member of Parliament in Lithuania drawing their attention to the Council of Europe Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Pictures of members of Lithuanian Gay League staff sending the postcards to members of parliament:

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The postcard says “We Recommend” and on the text on the back gives the Council of Europe recommendations in a nutshell.

LGL has recently published a monitoring report on the implementation of these recommendations, which can be read here.

Film screenings in Vilnius and Kaunas

Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights together with the Diversity and Education House and Lithuanian Medical Students’ Association also hosted two screenings of the film Right2Love followed by discussion: in Vilnius on the 14th (SoulBox 6 pm) and 17th in Kaunas (M.Žilinsko galerijos kino salė, 5 pm).