Open letter to the Lithuanian government, the city council of Vilnius and the organizers of the Vilnius European Cultural Capital – 2009:

Open letter to the Lithuanian government, the city council of Vilnius and the organizers of the Vilnius European Cultural Capital – 2009:
We are deeply disappointed and outraged to see Swedish and other news reports maintaining that you are deliberately ignoring the contribution of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans cultural workers from Lithuania and the rest of Europe in your program.
This an insult to the memory of the former Greek minister of culture, actress Melina Mecouri (a strong supporter of LGBT human rights and culture) who helped launch the very idea of rotating  European cultural capitals.
This is an affront to your Nordic neighbors who would be ashamed to present a program with out LGBT contributions.  These are nations from Iceland to Sweden to Finland which have long given official moral and economic support to their LGBT communities – countries which have long worked together with you in the Nordic Council.
It is a deviation from the principles of the European and global humanist movement long demanding equality and visibility for all residents and citizens of a country – including the LGBT communities.
It is a rejection of the excellent United Nations’ research such as the brilliant global report “In from the Margins” – which correctly labels any minister of culture or national cultural policy as unprofessional failures if ignoring the basic human rights and cultural contribution of the LBGT, immigrant and other minority communities.
And it displays a horrifying ignorance of the mega contributors to the cultural history of Europe for the last two millenniums – from Saphho to Oscar Wilde to Caravaggio to Nijinksi – people who have filled the opera and dance stages, the concert halls, the art galleries, the cinema, the theatres and the book shops of Europe with some of Europe´s most beautiful works.
Surely you must have some brighter administrators who can check out international statistics clearly concluding that those cities and countries which support and respect their LGBT communities have a higher average academic level, have more professionals, more business growth, broader  cultural production and more tourism  (such as San Francisco, Paris, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, Reykjavik, etc.) than those cities which are negative towards the LGBT community (Moscow, Minsk, Teheran, Bagdad, etc.) simply because  intelligent heterosexual and homosexual people leave cities of intolerance and look for lives elsewhere.
1. We urge you immediately to turn to the LBGT community of Lithuania for assistance.
2. We offer you assistance with seminars, performances, art, music, dance, etc. with very fine professional LGBT cultural workers from all over Europe.
3. We challenge you to a public debate over the very meaning of the European cultural capital.
4. We intend to help evaluate your year-long program at the end of this year in the light of the UN report, “In from the Margins.”
5. We will make all efforts to ensure that future decisions to grant the title of “European Cultural capital” do not once again go to a city “afraid” rather than proud of its LGBT citizens — only pretending to promise to display the full spectrum of national and European culture in its desire to win the crown of  “European Cultural Capital.”
Bill Schiller, chairman of Tupilak (Nordic rainbow cultural workers),  general secretary of the International Lesbian & Gay Cultural Network Information Secretariat – Stockholm and international secretary of both the Nordic Rainbow Humanists and of the Nordic Rainbow Council.
More information about us:  and
Copies to the Lithuanian Gay League, the International Humanist and Ethical Union, the Swedish minister of culture and the EU committee preparing applications for future European Cultural Capitals.