Vladimir Simonko, co-founder and Executive Director of the Lithuanian National LGBT* rights organization LGL, announced his bid for the candidacy to the ILGA-Europe Executive Board for the period of 2016-2017 during the elections by the Annual Conference, taking place on October 28th – 31st, 2015 in Athens (Greece). “Active participation in the ILGA-Europe Executive Board would enable me and my organization, which has been a member of ILGA since 1994, to contribute more directly towards the current needs of the movement. I believe that together we can make the change, which benefits not only the privileged ones, but also all our brothers and sisters in the diverse and unique European LGBTIQ community,” stressed Vladimir Simonko.
“I have been involved in LGBTIQ activism since the early 90s. It has been a challenging, demanding and at the same time highly rewarding journey. In addition to many achievements and disappointments, during these years I have experienced very important lesson, namely, that our struggle never ends,” underlined the Executive Director of LGL.
According to Vladimir, it is very important to emphasize that LGBTIQ lives are not only about deficits and challenges: “The leadership position in the Lithuanian organization and its active participation in the ILGA-Europe has provided me with the unique opportunities of meeting and becoming friends with a plethora of wonderful and inspiring human rights activists whose motivation and personal example keep me going on a daily basis.”
In addition to supporting the ILGA-Europe’s leadership and its continuous work in assisting member organizations all across Europe, Vladimir Simonko proposes three thematic topics as a platform for his candidacy to the ILGA-Europe Executive Board, namely:
- overturning and preventing from being adopted any version of “anti-homosexual propaganda” laws or administrative regulations;
- promoting pan-European legal recognition of same-sex relationships;
- supporting human rights defenders, including trans activists, who experience direct threats and insecurities in the course of their daily engagements.
Furthermore, Vladimir Simonko would also seek to ensure proper emphasis on the region of Central and Eastern Europe with the view of comprehensively responding to the pressing human rights challenges in these jurisdictions. Even though LGL strives for the consistent progress in the field of human rights for LGBT* people in Lithuania, the changes in new EU member states are taking much more time than it was originally expected. Based on his expertise during twenty years of activism, Vladimir Simonko observes a setback in the field of human rights and populist tendencies, related to Russian style anti-gay “propaganda law”.
“Having acquired substantial experience in relation to these topics under the national circumstances, I genuinely believe that my motivation, dedication and expertise will serve in successfully assisting our member organizations all across Europe,” concludes the candidate to the ILGA-Europe Executive Board.