On 20th-24th August, 2018 the representatives of the National LGBT* rights organization LGL participated in an NGO exchange programme in Helsinki (Finland). During the exchange week, LGL’s communication coordinator Eglė Kuktoraitė and LGL member and volunteer Nadežda Petruchina learned about the activities of the local LGBTI organization Seta and participated in meetings with representatives of Finnish NGOs, the Ministry of Justice, the Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination Ombudsperson’s offices. The visit was part of the project “Rainbow Rights – Promoting LGBTI Equality in Europe”.
On 20th August, the representatives of the National LGBT* rights organization LGL visited the headquarters of the local LGBTI organization Seta. On the first day of the visit, LGL representatives got acquainted with the organization’s staff and attended meetings with Seta’s Training Coordinator Marita Karvinen and Seta’s Secretary General Kerttu Tarjamo. During the meetings, the representatives learned about organization’s work principles and activities.
On 21st August, LGL’s representatives participated in a meeting with a Seta’s Senior work officer Aleksina Tikkinen, who is responsible for ensuring that older LGBTI people are included in organization’s activities. During the meeting, Seta’s representative talked about challenges of working with older LGBTI people and their specific needs. In the afternoon, LGL representatives met with a Seta’s representative Teija Ryhta and learned about the regional youth organization’s activities under the umbrella of Seta.
On 22nd August, LGL’s representatives met with Senni Moilanen, the producer of Helsinki Pride in 2018, who shared her experiences in searching for sponsorships from businesses. In the afternoon, LGL’s representatives participated in a meeting with the representatives from the Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination Ombudsperson’s offices. During the meeting, LGL’s representatives presented LGBT human rights situation in Lithuania and learned about Finland’s achievements in the areas of equality and non-discrimination.
On 23rd August, LGL’s and Seta’s representatives participated in Anti-racist Forum’s training on racism in LGBT community and LGBT organizations. LGL’s representatives spend the second half of the day in a meeting with representatives from the Finnish Ministry of Justice Michaela Moua and Panu Artemjeff, who presented the Ministry’s Fundamental and Human Rights Unit’s activities.
On 24th August, LGL’s representatives met with Seta’s Senior Social Worker Maarit Huuska, who presented the work of the organization’s Transgender Support Centre. In the afternoon, LGL representatives bid farewell to the Seta’s staff and spent remaining time exploring Helsinki.
“I am pleased to have had the opportunity to participate in this NGO exchange programme. I believe that the representatives of “Seta” who visited LGL last November, and we had an amazing opportunity to learn from each other. The LGBTI human rights victories in Finland have not been quick, so activists in Lithuania could learn from Finnish patience and determination in achieving their goals,” commented Eglė Kuktoraitė, LGL’s Communication Coordinator.
“I was impressed by Helsinki and the LGBTI community’s cultural life in the city. There were three LGBTI community gathering places in the hipster district where we were staying. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to get acquainted with the activities of the local LGBTI community, to have been able to participate in the queer poetry readings and learn more about the history of the local community,” concluded LGL member and volunteer Nadežda Petruchina.
The project Rainbow Rights is supported by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union. The project is carried out by the Ministry of Justice of Finland in partnership with Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland and the national umbrella NGO “Seta – LGBTI Rights in Finland”, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities and the National LGBT* rights organization LGL.