Mika: “Tolerance must be provoked”

A British singer and songwriter Mika, who will perform in Lithuania for the second time in Kaunas Žalgiris arena on the 23d May, 2016 spoke to portal 15min.lt about homophobia and the need to foster tolerance in Lithuania and abroad.

You have mentioned that your albums are very personal. I understand that one of them contained songs about your relationships with men. You came out of the closet four years ago. How did it affect your career?

It didn’t affect it at all. I have never released an album containing song only about relationships. Such themes do not inspire me.

It is somewhat strange that the coming-out did not affect my career. Although maybe, it is understandable. I write songs myself, I’m not anyone’s tool – a singer who sings someone else’s songs. If, for example, I sang in a boy band and I wasn’t a soloist or if I sang songs written by others, which were foreign to me and made me lie, then, presumably, it would have affected me.

Lithuania is regarded as a very homophobic country. How do you think tolerance could be fostered?

Tolerance must be provoked. I don’t think it’s possible to solicit it politely. However, when you attempt to provoke tolerance, you need to do it sensibly and joyfully. It’s dangerous to make generalizations or categorize people. By doing so, you might loose a lot of supporters. Let’s look at Italy. Even though the public is under stress due to the crisis, the country remains one of the most tolerant in Europe.

In turn, I am also trying to convey a message to people – I want that during my performances everyone could feel at ease and free from judgment. It doesn’t matter to me who you are, where you are from, what you are, as long as you are willing to go shoulder to shoulder and abandon your self-defense for two hours.

When everyone will start to think this way and will accept a person for who she/he is, the society will become more tolerant. This is the main goal.

Want to contribute to fostering tolerance and the social inclusion of LGBT* people in Lithuania? Help us to move forward – support LGL’s “Baltic Pride” 2016 crowdfunding campaign!

We say it loudly and proudly – “WE ARE PEOPLE, NOT PROPAGANDA”. Thank you for your encouragement and support. We are hoping to see you in the Baltic Pride events on June 13th – 19th. Together we are one!