The ceremony of the National Equality and Diversity Awards 2016 took place at the beautiful Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania on the evening of 29th March 2017. Many people attended this big and important event, ready to celebrate equality for everybody beyond sexuality, religion or disability.
As a volunteer and photographer of the National LGBT* rights organization LGL, I tried to document as many beautiful moments of the ceremony as I could, but also I was very excited to participate in something like this for the first time, and being part of this special and brave organization, doing many important activities for the community. In fact LGL won the Breakthrough of the Year Award, for organizing the Baltic Pride 2016. We all were hoping so strong for this Award, and winning it was a truly happy moment for everybody, especially for Vladimir Simonko who was so touched to receive the award.
There were also local musicians and choirs during the ceremony, who entertained the audience and played really beautiful and original music.
I saw many different people attending this event. Everyone was beautiful in their own way. There are still many issues in the modern society regarding their perception of the LGBT community, disabled people or just prejudices about people that look different from the standards of a “normal society”. I think that is really important to have and promote events like this, to remind ourselves that we all are equally important, that even with differences between us we’re still human beings and we are more similar than what we think.
We need to remind other people that acceptance, equality and freedom are the right ways that can lead us to a better future, even if it could take a lot of time for a real change in society or people’s minds. We need to fight for our rights, to create the basics for a more peaceful and loving future where one day everybody will be able to live in the way that they prefer, free from shame, prejudices and loneliness.
I think this was the main point of this special evening, because the world belongs to everyone, not just to “important people”, we all must be able to decide for ourselves, and seeing that there are many people, also the young generations, trying to make something different and important for this community, gave me hope that there is always a way to make things better.
LGL is carrying out the 10-month project “Democracy and Art Intertwined: Working Towards Empowered and Active LGBT Community and Allies in Lithuania” under the Erasmus+ program EVS (European Voluntary Service).