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The Your Stories section is all about you! Please take a minute to tell visitors of the ILGA website about what LGBTI life is like in reality. Please submit your personal story and share your experience!

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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 readers on 09/01/2012 +5
Only 4% of Lithuanians support same-sex partnership

The market research company RAIT has conducted a poll on civil partnership among 1003 Lithuanian inhabitants aged from 15 to 74. The survey, commissioned by the Baltic News Service, was carried out in November 2011.

According to the survey, seven out of ten Lithuanians believe that civil partnership status should be made legal, but only between a man and a woman. Only 4% of the respondents agree with a legal civil partnership model that would apply to both same-sex and heterosexual couples. Respondents with higher education, with an income of over 1100 LTL and younger respondents are more likely to approve of homosexual partnership. A quarter of the respondents (25%) believe that civil partnership should not be recognized at all.

The Lithuanian Ministry of Justice in November presented a draft law on recognizing the status of cohabiting unmarried partners. However, the Ministry does not propose to include same-sex couples in the scope of this law.

Member of Parliament Ms. Pavilionienė (Social Democrat) has in turn registered a draft partnership law which would include same-sex partnership. Minister of Justice Remigijus Šimašius, however, argues that homosexual couples already have sufficient legal measures in place to protect their interests.

Some Conservative Members of Parliament do not approve of the legalization of any kind of partnership, fearing that this might in the future lead to legalization of homosexual marriage.

The Government is currently deliberating on these proposals before a final decision on partnership law is taken.

Also in November 2011, the research company GfK Custom Research Baltic conducted an internet poll of 1714 respondents on whether they would be willing or unwilling to be neighbours with different social, ethnic and other groups. 56% of the respondents are unwilling to live next door to homosexuals, while one third of respondents said “it does not matter”. 72% of the respondents expressed being uncomfortable with the idea of living next door to someone with AIDS.
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Lithuanian Gay League posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual straight readers on 23/02/2012 +5
Ministry of Health seeks advice from the Lithuanian Gay League

The State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service has received a query concerning children’s psychological health. The question was passed to the Ministry of Health, which started an investigation into the matter.

On 29 December 2011, a 53-year-old inhabitant of Vilnius Mr. V. D. turned to the State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service, under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, with a request to explain whether a parade of naked men during daytime would be harmful to a child's health.

Having received the request, Ms. Simona Bronušienė, Deputy Head of the State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service, took urgent measures and addressed the Ministry of Health, requesting an answer to the query.

Mr. Arvydas Gabrilavičius, Head of the General Medical Care Unit of the Ministry of Health, started an investigation and requested the Lithuanian Gay League to give a statement on the matter.

In his response to the Ministry of Health, Mr. Vladimir Simonko, Head of the Lithuanian Gay League, highlighted that Article 8 Paragraph 1 Sub-paragraph 3 of the Law on Meetings forbids to organize meetings in which participants are naked.

“Should participants of a public event breach this norm, they would be held liable in accordance with the procedures laid down in this Law, irrespective of their sex, sexual orientation or other bases,” the response of the Lithuanian Gay League to the Ministry of Health holds.

Mr. Simonko also drew the attention of the Ministry of Health to the definition of public information that has a damaging effect on the development of children set out in Article 4 Paragraph 2 of the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public.

“Information on a naked person per se, on his/her physiology and body composition, irrespective of his/her sex, sexual orientation, age or other bases, is not considered to be such kind of information,” the response of the Lithuanian Gay League holds. “Only information of an erotic nature (Art 4 Para 2 Sub-para 4) or information that promotes sexual relations (Art 4 Para 2 Sub-para 15), irrespective of the sex of participants in such relations, is considered to have a detrimental effect on minors,” Mr. Simonko, Head of the Lithuanian Gay League, notes in his response.
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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
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 readers on 14/04/2011 tagged with gender identity, human rights, laws and leadership , sexual orientation +5
Lithuanian Parliament to „improve“ the ban of „gay propaganda“


Today a majority of the members of the Committee on Legal Affairs of Lithuanian Parliament voted for the „improvement“ of legislative amendment which seeks to establish harsh fines for the „propagation of homosexual relations in the public“. The author of the anti-gay law, MP Petras Grazulis now has unlimited time to come up with a new amended proposal which has to go under considerations in the parliamentary committees once again.

Vladimir Simonko, Chair of the national LGBT advocacy association LGL, reacted: „This is a one more warning act of institutionalised homophobia which prevails among Lithuanian lawmakers. Such kind of legislative proposals are totally unacceptable in the context of the legally binding Charter of Fundamental Rights which clearly prohibits any discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation. We urge European Commission as the guardian of the Lisbon Treaty to intervene immediately“.

Yesterday a group of Lithuanian parliamentarians has appealed to the heads of the Lithuanian Catholic, Russian Orthodox, Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and other confessions asking them to publicly encourage parliamentarians to approve the draft law currently being discussed in the Seimas regarding the establishment of administrative liability for “propagating homosexual relationships”.

According to the parliamentarians, the provisions of the draft law are in compliance with the overall position expressed by the heads of the Lithuanian Catholic, Russian Orthodox, and Evangelical Lutheran Churches.
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Lithuanian Gay League (user currently living in LITHUANIA) posted for gay lesbian transgender bisexual straight readers on 23/02/2012 +5
LGBT rights highlighted during the Universal Periodic Review of Lithuania
2012 02 23
LGL participated on 21 February in a meeting of the Lithuanian Human Rights Coalition hosted by Ambassador David Hunt at the British Embassy. LGL presented comments and recommendations made at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Lithuania regarding LGBT rights to the meeting participants, including several ambassadors to Lithuania.

The Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review held its twelfth session from 3 to 14 October 2011, during which a review of Lithuania was held. LGL in collaboration with other NGOs contributed to the preparation of documents for this session, giving an overview on the status of LGBT individuals in Lithuania in collaboration with ILGA-Europe. The Lithuanian State was questioned by the Members States of the Human Rights Council about the actions that have been undertaken to improve the human rights situation in the country and to fulfill the human rights obligations.

Considering some reports of crimes committed towards LGBT persons, Sweden asked Lithuania what measures it will take to strengthen their rights and how the law could be refined to avoid discrimination against LGBT persons, and recommended taking action in order to avoid discrimination of LGBT persons, in practice and through law. Belgium stated that new amendments to the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information made secret any information “disparaging family values” or referring to marriage other than between people of the opposite sex. Belgium also noted that intolerance towards homosexuals increased over the past years due to discriminatory legislatives initiatives. Denmark expressed concerns at Lithuania’s homophobic legislation and recent proposals in the Parliament undermining the rights of sexual minorities. It referred to Amnesty International’s recommendations in this regard. Switzerland expressed concerns at the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information and at new amendments, which are discriminatory against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The Netherlands expressed concerns at legislative initiatives affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people.

The recommendations listed below enjoy the support of Lithuania:

Belgium: Refrain from adopting legislative measures which criminalise homosexual relations or breach the rights to freedom of expression and to non-discrimination of LGBT people.
Brazil: Further strengthen measures to prevent and combat discrimination and to investigate allegations of hate crimes;
USA: Develop public awareness campaigns to combat manifestations of discrimination and racism, including xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and other forms of intolerance in order to further protect and strengthen the rights of members of minority groups, including LGBT individuals and the Roma community;
Argentina: Consider/study the possibility to take additional measures to combat discrimination against LGBT people;
Ireland: Take further steps to eliminate discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity;
Australia: Continue to ensure that LGBT people are able to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
Norway: Carefully consider whether the right balance is struck when the main street of Vilnius is made available for annual marches by neo-Nazis on Independence Day, whilst vulnerable groups like the LGBT society are refused to use the same venue, and are referred to less attractive locations; Develop even closer co-operation with civil society on human rights related issues
Slovenia: Refrain from legislative initiatives which may criminalize homosexual relations between consenting adults; take all necessary measures to prevent and prosecute all forms of violence and harassment related to sexual orientation and gender identity; ensure the full respect for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly for all, including LGBT people.

The following recommendations will be examined by Lithuania which will provide responses in due time, but no later than the nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council in March 2012:

Belgium: Review the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information in order to remove all possibilities that this law may be applied in such a way to stigmatize or discriminate against LGBT people or to breach their rights to freedom of assembly or expression.
Switzerland: Introduce necessary measures to ensure full respect of human rights for all, including for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people, by reviewing the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information.
Netherlands: Take the necessary legislative measures and enact policies that recognise the diversity of families and provide same sex couples with the same rights and social security benefits as heterosexual couples.
Denmark: Take steps to ensure that legislation protects the full rights of sexual minorities.
Slovenia: Repeal any discriminatory provision in existing laws on sexual orientation and gender identity

Responses by Lithuania:

Regarding its family policy, Lithuania noted a recent ruling by the Constitutional Court which acknowledged partnership as another form of family and the current debate on how to better protect the rights of unmarried couples.

Replying to questions about the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effects of Public Information, Lithuania stressed that the law was adopted in order to implement the requirement of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that appropriate guidelines be developed for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being. As the original wording of the law evoked misgivings about its possible interpretation in a manner discriminatory against sexual minorities, the law was amended. Its current version did not classify information on homosexuality as detrimental to minors and actually protected sexual minorities by classifying as detrimental information which humiliates a person because of their sexual orientation.
To explain the attitude of the State towards sexual minorities, Lithuania stated that the Parliament rejected legislative initiatives which contained suggestions that it impose administrative sanctions for propagating homosexual relationships.
Lithuania mentioned the trend toward prosecuting hate crimes more intensively and gave the example of a recent case related to commentaries on the internet about sexual minorities.

Lithuania underlined that a major conceptual challenge was to ensure that all human rights were protected and not only the most popular of them. For example, the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information was just one example of how to reconcile competing claims relating to the protection of human rights. Lithuania was open to critical remarks with regard to the choices it made to address difficult questions.

Lithuania stated that the implementation of human rights was primarily the task of specialized ministries. However, the possibilities for civil society to get involved in law and policy making significantly increased recently with the inclusion of the principle of transparency in the legislative process. Overall, Lithuania thought that it would be a fair assessment to say that it achieved significant progress in ensuring human rights, notably in civil and political rights, which were adequately guaranteed.

On freedom of peaceful assembly, Lithuania indicated that it was guaranteed by law and the only restriction was related to the necessity of ensuring public safety. Lithuanian courts ensured that public safety was not used as a mean of unreasonable restriction of that freedom. Lithuania provided examples to back its statement, namely the 2010 Baltic gay parade, which took place in Vilnius, and a protest action by trade unions which took place in front of the Parliament.
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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
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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