Tomas Raskevičius, an LGBT policy coordinator at the Lithuanian Gay League, spoke about the issues facing the LGBT community in Lithuania and some of the community's goals.
Lithuanian society 'more accepting of LGBT people', but institutional progress stalls
© Fotolia nuotr.

“Social visibility is a positive thing, and it has increased significantly over the past five years when it comes to the LGBT community in Lithuania. It means our society has begin to talk about this problem. The so-called 'exhibitionism' of the LGBT community is not a desire to show or reveal any intimate aspects of our identity – it's simply a desire to draw the public's attention to the challenges and problems that this social group faces,” Raskevičius told LRT.

When asked about the fact that Lithuania was recently ranked lower in terms of LGBT rights than it had been several years ago, Raskevičius said, “the situation in Lithuania isn't actually getting worse, it's getting better, and I'd say that society's opinion has changed for the better over the last few years. Why are Lithuania's results becoming worse? It's essentially because other countries are moving forward quickly with determination, while here, at a legal and institutional level, nothing is happening.”

“Our organisation tries to identify three priority fields,” said Raskevičius. “The first is the elimination of laws protecting youth from the effect of negative public information, as these openly discriminate against LGBT individuals. We also call this law the homosexual propaganda prohibition law. The second field is the regulation of the right to a sex change in Lithuania. Currently, Lithuania is the only European state in which this procedure is not de facto or de jure regulated in any way. The third aspect is to promote public discourse and eventually to regulate the legal foundation for the legal recognition of same-sex marriages.”

The Baltic Pride 2016 LGBT event will be held in Vilnius from 13-22 June, with a parade on the 18th.

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