The recent homophobic rant by Lithuanian DJ and producer Marijus Adomaitis, known internationally as Ten Walls, and the following outcry will benefit Lithuania, as it will trigger an even more open discussion on homophobia and intolerance, claimed the President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė on the 10th of June, 2015.
“I believe the incident benefits the state in a way that, in this country, we are becoming more and more open in our discussions about how insular we are, our intolerance of people who are different, as well as homophobia. I believe discussions are a healthy thing, we need more of them, as the sooner Lithuania becomes more open and more tolerant, the better it will be for the country,” told the President on the 10th of June, 2015.
On the 20th of May, 2015 the president insistently, and rather gracelessly, refused to a Latvian journalist’s Gundars Reders questions about LGBT* rights in Lithuania. Mr. Reders asked the President to comment on LGBT* rights in Lithuania, reminding that Estonia had recently legalized same-sex partnership. “There is no large discussion about it in Lithuania,” Mrs. Grybauskaitė responded, adding that it was not a topical issue for her country.
On the 15th of May, 2015, the national LGBT* rights organization LGL’s Board Chair, Elena Dapkūnaitė, and Executive Director, Vladimir Simonko, presented the President Grybauskaitė with the “Change It!” petition signatures. These signatures represent Lithuanian popular support for more consistent, meaningful and inclusive responses to the needs of LGBT* people on behalf of state institutions.
On the 3d of June, 2015 Ten Walls published a strong-worded homophobic statement in Lithuanian on his “Facebook” profile, calling homosexual people “another breed” and comparing to child molestors. “I remember producing music for one Lithuanian musician, who tried to wash my brain that I don’t need to be so conservative and intolerant about them. When I asked him ‘what would you do if you realized that your 16-year-old son’s browny (anus) is ripped by his boyfriend?’ Well he was silent.”
The musician went on to praise the way “these people of different breed” were locked up two decades ago, before comparing homosexuality to sexual abuse of children at the hands of Catholic priests. “One of my first gigs in Ireland, on my way to [my] hotel I saw a church with a fence decorated with hundreds of baby shoes. Naturally I wondered why? Unfortunately a priest’s lie for many years was uncovered when children were massively raped. Unfortunately the people of other breed continue to do it and everyone knows it but does nothing,” the musician Ten Walls wrote.
The statement drew an international response – his performances have been cancelled by international music festivals and the incident was covered by Western media.
On the 8th of June, 2015 Ten Walls apologized, also on “Facebook”, saying: “It was never my intention to offend anyone. I’m really saddened by everything that has happened and I would like to apologise to everyone I’ve let down, especially to my friends in the gay community, and my fans.”
The national LGBT* rights organization LGL welcomes the encouraging position of the President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė in support of fostering tolerance within the Lithuanian society. LGL hopes that the President’s position on this critically important issue will catalyze a broader discussion about LGBT* rights and issues in Lithuanian society.