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Readers Experiences

This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in LITHUANIA...
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex readers on 19/09/2012
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Homeland Union opposes same - sex partnerships


In its ambitious election programme, the conservative Lithuanian party Homeland Union promises to further strengthen the family institute. Irena Degutiene, Chairman of the Parliamentary Group of the Homeland Union and Speaker of Parliament, claimed that she will actively oppose the legalization of homosexual partnerships, which would purportedly help civilization to destroy itself and humanity.

“That is directed against the survival of the country. I cannot understand how a family could have two mothers or two fathers. There should be both a mother and a father. That is self-evident,” stated Ms. Degutiene during a meeting of the Homeland Union.

Her speech against same-sex marriage was received with applause by party members. The party considers family, which the Speaker of Parliament cannot imagine without a marriage between a man and a woman, to be the main unit of the country, which should not be destroyed: “If we legalize gay or lesbian marriages… I don’t even want to think about that.”

Ms. Degutiene was reminded of a case when before a visit to Germany she was warned not to talk about family policy, because she would not be understood. She was confused by this, as she considers it to be the duty of a country to preserve the institution of family and the state itself.

Source: www.15min.lt
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 05/07/2012
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On 26 June the Parliament rejected the proposal of a legislative amendment which sought to establish harsh fines for the “organization of events contradicting social morality”. The proposal authored by MP Petras Grazulis was registered immediately after European Parliament passed a resolution condemning homophobic laws and discrimination in Europe. 9 votes were in favour and 29 against.

The amendment sought to introduce a new Article 188(21) in the Administrative Code entitled “Denigration of constitutional moral values”, stating that “the public denigration of constitutional moral values and the principles of family stipulated in the Constitution and the organization of events contradicting social morality” should be a subject to a penalty from 1000 to 3000 LTL. The proposal was a new version of the amendments submitted by Mr. Gražulis repetitively and aiming at criminalization of a very wide variety of actions and activities e.g. campaigning on human rights issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, providing sexual health information to LGBT individuals, organization of LGBT film festivals, Pride events etc.

LGL, protesting the proposals to ban freedom of expression and assembly for LGBT people, held a public action with waiving a 30 metres long rainbow flag near the Parliament on May 18th. In July 2013 Vilnius will be host for Baltic Pride march for LGBT equality.
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex readers on 05/07/2012
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Transport company warned over discrimination based on sexual orientation


The Equal Opportunities Ombudsman in Lithuania has warned a Vilnius transport company over discrimination based on sexual orientation following a complaint made by the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL).

A representative of LGL first wrote a private email to the transport company requesting to rent a bus for three hours on 17 May 2012. The company confirmed the booking later the same day, informing that the service would cost 700 litas and asking to specify the required route.

In connection with providing the requested details, the client informed the company that the bus would be used by the Lithuanian Gay League. The bus company then informed the client that the booking was on hold due to negotiations over another event on 17 May.

LGL proceeded by asking the company if a bus would be available on any other date in May, but received no reply. Eventually, the company replied by saying negotiations were still ongoing and that LGL should make enquiries with other bus companies.

The Equal Opportunities Ombudsman found that the transport company in question refused to rent a bus to the client on the grounds of sexual orientation, and thus violated the Lithuanian Equal Opportunities Act.
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 02/05/2012 +0
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Rainbow Days 2012 – Increasing public dialogue on LGBT rights

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) will be marked in Lithuania by a week-long celebration of Rainbow Days, organised by the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL).

Rainbow Days will be opened at a press conference at Seimas on 16 May hosted by Member of Parliament Marija Aušrinė Pavilionienė, with speakers including Ambassador of the Netherlands Kornelis Spaans and John Finkbeiner, Political-Economic Chief at the Embassy of the United States.

Activities throughout the week (15–22 May) will include seminars, cinema screenings and ‘tolerance lessons’ given by LGL volunteers at the LGBT Centre in Vilnius, where participants will have the opportunity to question stereotypes and meet and talk with people who are often discriminated against and excluded from society.

A 30-metre rainbow flag will be unfolded in Vilnius as a public action, highlighting the importance of solidarity, unity and support. Rainbow Days will close with a celebration “Rainbow Café for All” featuring various Lithuanian DJs and performers.

Events will be held in both Vilnius and Kaunas. Rainbow Days will be organised in Lithuania now for the second time, with the intention of establishing the event as an annual tradition. Rainbow Days are supported by the PROGRESS programme under the European Commission, Open Society Foundations and Amnesty International.
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 23/04/2012 +5
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US Ambassador to Lithuania highlights LGBT-friendly policy

In a recent interview given to Lithuanian news portal 15min.lt, United States Ambassador to Lithuania Anne E. Derse discussed among other things LGBT rights in the US and in Lithuania.

She talked about the current US administration’s commitment to LGBT rights, stressing that it is a core part of the US foreign policy to promote human rights also in countries with which it has relationships: “Secretary Clinton gave a speech on December 6 where she stated very clearly that we believe LGBT rights are human rights. We believe that LGBT people have the same right as everyone else to live in safety, in security, exercise all of their human rights to not be discriminated against.”

Answering a question on whether legal partnership is part of these rights, the Ambassador stated that every country has to decide for itself on these social questions, adding however that gay people have a right like everyone else to exercise their fundamental human rights, which is a fact that no-one should question.

“Secretary Clinton, in her speech on December 6, said that when you don't understand something, when it's different and strange and maybe considered alien to traditional values, it's scary, it's frightening. But in fact homosexuality is a human reality, she said, and it exists in every country in the world. And we're talking about real people, we're talking about kids in high school who might be discovering that they're homosexual. How do they feel? Are they bullied, do they feel isolated and alone? We know in the United States that there have been hate crimes, kids have died, or committed suicide, because they feel alienated. That's simply wrong. We know how parents feel when they discover that maybe they have a homosexual child. These are real human situations. This is the reality, it's not some, excuse me for using this term, ancient Soviet notion of scary.”

The Ambassador talked about debates on these issues in the US, mentioning as an example the military’s recently repealed Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, which has proved to work despite a great deal of initial concern.

The Ambassador said she is following homophobic legislative proposals pending in the Lithuanian Parliament and that her embassy in line with the Secretary of State’s policy will work against any attempts to criminalize homosexuality, working with partners in government, in media and in NGOs.

According to the Ambassador, this year’s Freedom March organised in Vilnius to celebrate Lithuanian independence day is a positive development: “The US condemns manifestations of antisemitism or homophobia or xenophobia everywhere in the world and we applaud when people celebrate freedom and democracy.”
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 20/03/2012
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Statement on LGBT rights read in Lithuania’s UPR session

In the final session of the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Lithuania, held in Geneva on 16 March, a statement prepared by LGL together with COC Netherlands and ILGA-Europe was read. The statement is below and can also be watched here.

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Madam Vice-President,

We would like to thank Lithuania for its positive participation in the UPR process and would like to commend Lithuania for accepting recommendations to combat discrimination against LGBT people, ensure the full respect for freedom of expression and assembly for all, and prevent and prosecute all forms of violence and harassment related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

We want to draw the Lithuanian Government’s attention to the case L v Lithuania, which Lithuania lost in the European Court of Human Rights in 2007. The ruling obliges Lithuania to pass a law regulating the procedure and conditions of gender reassignment, which Lithuania has subsequently ignored. Further, members of parliament last March registered a proposal to amend the Civil Code with a prohibition of gender reassignment surgery. We urge the Lithuanian Government to act in conformity with the commitments made during the UPR process and rulings of the European Court of Human Rights, which entail the responsibility to ensure that transgender people have access to reassignment surgeries.

In response to the recommendation on recognition of family diversity, the government stated that active discussion on the concept of family is ongoing, but it is not foreseen to equalize the rights of same sex and opposite sex couples. We are concerned about a proposed amendment to the Constitution defining the concept of family as based on a marriage between a man and a woman. We recommend that Lithuania ensures equal rights between same sex and opposite sex couples in its legislation and policies, for example by introducing the possibility of partnership registration.

Whilst the government states that there are no provisions in the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information which would allow discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, we remain concerned that the law could be used to restrict freedom of expression of LGBT people. The law in itself sends outs a message to society that contributes to stigma and discrimination of LGBT people.

We are concerned over legislative initiatives that are blatantly discriminatory and unlawfully restrict the right to freedom of expression of LGBT people. We urge the Lithuanian Government to engage in constructive dialogue with experts and NGOs regarding these issues to ensure that the human rights of LGBT people are fully upheld.

Thank you Madam Vice-President.
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual intersex straight readers on 20/03/2012
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Restrictions to LGBT rights on Lithuanian Parliament’s spring agenda

On 20 March 2012 the Lithuanian Parliament adopted its spring agenda, preparing to debate on three legislative amendments openly violating LGBT rights as well as the international commitments to uphold freedom of expression and to fight discrimination.

The first amendment submitted by Petras Gražulis and accepted by the parliamentarians for consideration is a new Article 214(30) in the Administrative Code entitled “Protection of constitutional moral values”. It states that “the public denigration of constitutional moral values and the principles of family stipulated in the Constitution and the organization of events contradicting social morality” should be a subject to a penalty from 1000 to 3000 LTL. If the actions mentioned above are committed repeatedly, the fine amounts to 3000 – 6000 LTL (870 – 1740 EUR). The proposal is a new version of the amendments submitted by Mr. Gražulis repetitively and aiming at criminalization of a very wide variety of actions and activities e.g. campaigning on human rights issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, providing sexual health information to LGBT individuals, organization of LGBT film festivals, Pride events etc.

The second proposal submitted by Antanas Matulas, Vida Marija Čigriejienė and Arimantas Dumčius is an amendment to the Civil Code aiming at the prohibition of gender reassignment surgery. At present, the Civil Code provides that an unmarried adult is entitled to undergo gender reassignment surgery if it is possible medically, while the conditions and procedure of gender reassignment are set by legislation. However, no such legislation has been passed. In 2007 Lithuania lost a case in the European Court of Human Rights concerning the right of a transsexual person to gender reassignment. The MPs who submitted the controversial legislative initiative stated that the amendment would protect Lithuania from any claims at the ECHR in the future.

Also on the agenda will be a draft amendment to the Constitution accepted by Parliament in December, stating that “the family is created by a free marriage agreement between a man and woman”. All amendments to the Constitution must be considered and approved by Parliament twice, with a three month break between each vote. The proposal will be adopted if 94 members of parliament vote in favour of the amendment at each vote session. Currently Article 38 of the Lithuanian Constitution states that family is the substance of society and the State, but there is no direct reference that family is created only through marriage.
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