“Humanity and Its Rights” Workshop with University Students

Yesterday, 17th October, a team from LGL visited the Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU). This visit was due to a workshop on LGBT* issues organized in partnership with the local ESN VGTU group. 13 participants including LGL members Kamila, our volunteer coordinator, Tatiana, our EVS volunteer and Cintia, our intern, attended the workshop entitled “Humanity and Its Rights”.

Knowing that many times, the difficulties experienced by the LGBT* community are directly linked to society’s ignorance and lack of information, this workshop took this great opportunity to inform young students about the specificities of LGBT* people.

We started the activity with an ice-breaker that allowed everyone to know each other and to exchange some personal information and some ideas related to the theme. This exercise was aimed not only at introducing the theme but also at making everyone feel more comfortable to discuss this serious issue. Following activity succeeded in deconstructing the LGBT* acronym and connecting each letter to the concept it represents, as well as introducing new concepts. Students were then challenged to try to link several words related to sexual orientation and gender identity to their correct definitions. This exercise was not easy, since some of the concepts were completely unknown to everyone. In the end, Kamila explained the differences between each of them, thus showing the complexity and diversity of identifications among the LGBT* community.

In the following exercise, everyone’s opinion was put to the test: Kamila made some affirmations relating to what should or should not be done for and with the LGBT* people and the students had to move to the left side or to the right side of the classroom depending on their level of agreement with the given statement, one side would represent total agreement and the other would be total discordance. Before this exercise, our volunteer coordinator explained to everyone that there are no right or wrong answers and that everyone has the right to have their own opinion. To conclude, sitting around, everyone shared their thoughts about this moment and what they had felt or thought, followed by a comment about the workshop. The workshop ended after everyone (who felt to do so) shared their views and what this activity had brought them, and what they had learnt.

We, on our side, left the university extremely satisfied with the event that had taken place. It was great to be able to share a little bit of our knowledge with the students, as well as to see their reactions, their opinions and openness but also to learn from them, what they thought, the reality lived in their countries, and how their opinions have changed after it. It was a moment of sharing and mutual growth and we look forward to the next time we will have another one.