LGL is a member organisation of IGLYO and one of the most stable and mature organizations within the civic sector in the country as it was on December 1993. The main principle that characterizes the activities of the association is that of independence from any political or financial interests, with the aim of attaining effective social inclusion and integration of the local LGBT* community in Lithuania.
To get more information about LGL’s work and the organisation of Baltic Pride 2016, we asked LGL’ s Communication Coordinator Eglė Kuktoraitė.
- What is your role inside LGL?
I am a communications coordinator in the national LGBT* rights organization LGL. Employment in LGL promises me a chance to apply energy and excitement of writing to publicize LGL’s initiatives. As a communications coordinator I seek to provide objective and impartial information to the members of the local community, to the international partners, to the representatives of the mass media and to the general public and to the decision and policy makers (both on national and international levels). In LGL I disseminate information with regards to the LGBT* human rights through the organization’s web-sites (www.lgl.lt/en and www.atviri.lt), through social media and through the organization’s newsletter.
- What is a very exciting project LGL is currently working on?
At the moment our organization is engaged in the preparations for the Baltic Pride 2016. Baltic Pride is a joint project by the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian LGBT* organizations, seeking to promote openness and cooperation among the Baltic societies in challenging homo-, bi- and transphobic attitudes. The Baltic Pride festival will be organized in Vilnius for the third time. This time the festival will be used as a platform for challenging the discriminatory application of the “anti-gay propaganda” law and initiating the broader public discussion on legal recognition of same-sex relationships in Lithuania. The official slogan of the festival is “We are people, not propaganda!”
By encouraging Lithuanian activists to see themselves as a part of the global movement, events like Baltic Pride 2016 will provide a strong impetus to the protection of LGBT* people’s rights. We are sure that the Baltic Pride 2016 will contribute to raising public discussions on legal recognition of same-sex relationships in the society, discriminatory application of the “anti-gay propaganda” law and encourage politicians and society to respect LGBT* human rights.
- What is a priority in LGL’s agenda?
Our top priority at the moment is organization of the Baltic Pride 2016. The event will take place on June 18th, 2016 (Saturday) on the Gediminas Avenue. The march will culminate in a gathering of the LGBT* community in the public park of the Bernardine Garden, located in the historic Old Town of the city. The march and the gathering will take place between 12 PM and 6 PM, more than 1000 participants are anticipated.
The Baltic Pride 2016 festival, taking place between June, 13th and June 19th, 2016 will encompass not only the March for Equality, but also a plethora of cultural, social and community events. On June 16th (Thursday) a theatrical event of Pride Voices will take place, where internationally famous members of LGBT* community will share their personal stories. On June 17th (Friday) the international human rights conference on the topic of legal recognition of same-sex relationships will be organized. On June 18th (Saturday) the members of the LGBT* community and their allies will participate in the March for Equality and the following gathering in the public park of the Bernardine Garden. During the festival, the community cultural space Pride House will open its doors, as well as the queer movie festival “Kreivės“.
Though June, 2016 might seem far away, event of such scope as the Baltic Pride requires thorough preparation, ranging from fundraising to communicating with possible performers. But, Lithuanians have a saying “Fix wheels in winter and sledges in summer”. I am sure that all our efforts will pay off once we will organize the BEST Baltic Pride ever!
- Why did LGL want to become a member of IGLYO?
LGL is glad to be a part of an international LGBT* youth and student organization IGLYO. It is extremely important for us to advocate for the rights of LGBT* youth. However, it is difficult to reach out to LGBT* youth under Lithuanian circumstances due to anti-famous “anti-gay propaganda” law. It is forbidden to spread any positive LGBT*-related information to minors. Therefore, we are going to use the Baltic Pride 2016 festival as a platform for challenging the discriminatory application of this law. We are sure that the Baltic Pride 2016 will contribute to raising public discussions on discriminatory application of the “anti-gay propaganda” law and encourage politicians and society to respect LGBT* human rights.
- Which is the most useful advice you would like to give to an LGBTQI young person at present time?
My only advise is: don’t be alone, reach out to other people. Most importantly, to people who like you for who you are.