The charitable fund of Rūta Meilutytė, Lithuania’s Olympic Gold medallist and World Record holder in swimming, sent a homophobic email to the organisers of Baltic Pride 2016, taking a strong stand against the event and calling gays “an anomaly”. The email, signed by Rūta’s father who manages the affairs of the young swimmer, came in response to an invitation addressed to Rūta to attend Baltic Pride 2016 events in June.
Later Rūta distanced herself from her father’s position in a public Facebook post, saying she believes in tolerance, being one of the first high-profile sports personalities in the country to stand up for LGBT* rights.
Rūta is a good friend of Tom Daley. They both studied and trained in Plymouth. Ruta congratulated Tom on Twitter in 2013 when he came out, saying “So much respect for @TomDaley1994 for the step he took today. Proud of you!! x”
Baltic Pride 2016 will be held in Vilnius for the third time this summer. Baltic Pride has previously been met with strong public opposition and organisers have had to go through the courts to get permission to hold the parade. This year organisers have launched a crowdfunding campaign, asking both the local and international community for help to make the event happen.
Here is a full translation of the email from the fund:
“First of all, our fund cannot support your event because such support is not allowed by the terms of the fund. Second of all, I personally am not a homophobe – I know some very intelligent people, who are great experts of their field, have honorable reputation, and are very well-cultured both in their personality and in their manner of communication, and who are gay – however, I will never support nor fund your parades. I can only add that if majority of people were at least a bit as mature in their personality as the gays I know, despite the fact that they are, unfortunately, an anomaly of nature, the world would be a much brighter place to live. Please, read prof. V. Radžvilas’s “Eros and revolution”, perhaps then my personal motives will be more clear for you.
Though I honestly believe that You, like the rest of the active gay community in Lithuania and other various organizations of various rights, which are supported by EU or various non-Lithuanian gay and pro-gay organizations, probably do not feel affection towards prof. V. Radžvilas. Just as I do not towards your leader V. Simonko. “So it goes”, as Billy Pilgrim from K. Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” used to say.
I cannot wish You and the LGBT luck in organizing “Baltic Pride”, just as I cannot wish luck to protests of Tomashevski-supporters and luck to protests, gatherings and needs of LLRA [party representing the Polish speaking minority in Lithuania], which go against national interests of Republic of Lithuania.”