On the 15th of May, 2015 the official reception for Rainbow Days 2015, which was organized by the national LGBT* rights organization LGL, took place at the Finnish Embassy. Numerous human rights activists, ambassadors, and figures from the world of culture and entertainment showed their support by attending the event. Over one hundred guests celebrated with Finnish Ambassador Harri Mäki-Reinikka, LGL Board Chair Elena Dapkūnaitė and Executive Director of LGL Vladimir Simonko.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Rainbow Award to defenders of LGBT* human rights. This year, LGL Board Chair Elena Dapkūnaitė honored the Facebook kissing sensations Pijus Beizaras and Mangirdas Levickas with the award in recognition of their courage to use the freedom of expression.
After posting the couple posted a photo of themselves kissing to Facebook in December 2014, the young men became targets of much homophobic hatred. LGL informed the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Lithuania of the hate speech the couple was receiving online, but the Prosecutor’s Office refused to open an investigation, and failed to start any processes in courts of both first and second instances. With LGL’s help, Beizaras and Levickas are appealing to the European Court of Human Rights regarding the lack of effective legal remedies to combat hatred promoted online.
Over 20 embassies enthusiastically contributed to the Rainbow Days 2015 reception, and representatives of the United States, Austria, Great Britain and all of the Scandinavian countries were in attendance.
© Photo courtesy of Augustas Didžgalvis