Seminar at VMU to Discuss LGBT Rights
On 13 May, 3 p.m., the United Nations Student Club will organize an LGBT Rights Workshop at the VMU Small Hall (S. Daukanto g. 28).
“It takes no compromise to give people their rights… It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” ― Harvey Milk.
LGBT rights is still a very taboo topic in Lithuania. As a promoter of human rights issues, the UN Student Club would like to provide a platform where students can discuss this important topic in an environment of tolerance, acceptance, and understanding.
Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Lithuania, but neither gay marriage nor civil same-sex partnership are available. Although homosexuality was decriminalised in 1993, the historic legacy has resulted in limited rights for gays and lesbians. Protection against discrimination was legislated for as part of the criteria for European Union accession and in 2010 the first gay pride parade took place in Vilnius.
Negative attitudes against gay and lesbian men and women remain entrenched. A European Union member poll, conducted in 2006, showed Lithuania at 17% support for gay marriage and 12% for rights of adoption. Another study, conducted in 2006, showed that 42% of respondents would agree on a same-sex civil partnership law, 12% – same-sex marriage, 13% – right to adopt. The support for same-sex couples’ rights diminished significantly since then and has continued to drop. A 2012 study revealed a 10% support for same-sex partnerships, 7% for same-sex marriages, while an identical study in 2013 showed only a 7% support for partnerships and 5% support for marriages.
During the census of 2011, only 24 same-sex households were declared.
The workshop’s special guest speaker is Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius, Project Coordinator at Lithuanian Gay League. He received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Vilnius and his master’s in Human Rights Law from Central European University. He has worked with the US Embassy in Lithuania and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania.
The organizers invite everyone to join in and discuss how Lithuania can break through its LGBT taboos and provide a platform for a more tolerant discussion.