The first ever Baltic Pride will take place in Riga May 15 – 17, 2009

In May next year three organisations from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will organise the first ever joint Pride event in Riga. The Pride event is aimed at drawing attention to the situation for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people in the three Baltic countries and encouraging people of different sexual orientation to celebrate diversity and Baltic unity.
The three organisations, who met for a first joint meeting in Latvia in early October, are Estonian Gay Youth (EGN), the LGBT and Their Friends Association Mozaika and the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL). All organisations agreed to establish a new tradition of organising joint pride events in the Baltic and to launch this initiative in Riga next year.
The program will consist of a political discussion on non-discrimination principles in the European Union, seminars, a cultural program and a Pride parade for equality.
Vladimir Simonko, chairperson LGL, says: “For us it is important to follow the example of Estonia and Latvia, where pride parades have already taken place for a few years and the understanding of freedom of assembly and expression has grown bigger than in Lithuania. We are disappointed that the mayors of two major Lithuanian cities once again demonstrated ignorance and disrespect of the EU anti-discrimination principles and legislation in August. Nevertheless we are already planning for the next Baltic pride in Vilnius in 2010.”
Linda Freimane, chairperson Mozaika, says: “We believe that together we are stronger than when we act each organisation individually. We already have a tradition of organising our Friendship days together with other NGOs in Latvia. Now we will extend our cooperation to our neighbours, who work with the same human rights related issues as we do.”
“The Estonian LGBT community is still waiting for the discussion of same sex partnership to be brought up in the Estonian Parliament” stressed Madle Saluveer, the spokesperson of EGN. “The partnership law would be the first big step forward in the recognition of LGBT rights in the Baltic states.” Saluveer also drew attention to the importance of cooperation between the Baltic: “We would like similar progress to take place in all three countries – after all, we are close neighbours and have in common a wish to develop our democracies.”
The Baltic Pride 2009 will conclude on May 17, which is the international day against homophobia (IDAHO).
More information:
Lithuania: Vladimir Simonko, vladimir@gay.lt, + 370 612 58211
Latvia: Linda Freimane, linda.freimane@gmail.com, + 371 29404111
Estonia: Madle Saluveer, madle.m.saluveer@gmail.com, + 372 53874719