EU LGBTI Survey: LGBTI Human Rights Situation in Lithuania Remains Poor

On 14th of May, 2020 the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released its LGBTI survey findings – the world’s biggest survey of its kind with 140 000 respondents.

Survey results revealed an alarming situation in Lithuania: Lithuanian respondents admitted always (14 %) or almost always (20 %) feeling downhearted or depressed. Moreover, 55 % of Lithuanian respondents personally felt discriminated against in 8 areas of life due to their LGBTI identity. These rates are highest among all EU countries.

Survey results also showed the lack of openness in Lithuania. 51% of Lithuanian respondents confessed to hiding their LGBTI identity at work, while 59% admitted to not being open about it at school. 44% of Lithuanian survey participants said that they avoid holding hands with their same-sex partner in public fearing that they might be subjected to threats, assault or harassment.

FRA survey also confirms that education on LGBTI topics in schools remains critical: respondents said that LGBTI topics are discussed in a negative manner (19%) or are not discussed at all (65%).

According to Vladimir Simonko, Executive Director of the National LGBT rights organization LGL, FRA research reveals that there was virtually no progress in terms of openness of LGBTI persons in Lithuania.

“LGBTI individuals in Lithuania still live in fear of being rejected or even assaulted, therefore they tend to avoid public display of affection. LGBTI topics at school also remain taboo. It is not at all surprising that emotional health of Lithuanian LGBTI persons is one of the worst in Europe”, commented Vladimir Simonko.

Comparison of 2019 and 2012 survey results reveals little overall progress over the past seven years. The EU averages do not show important differences between countries. In some, over 70% of LGBTI respondents say that society is more tolerant towards LGBTI community, while in others, up to 68% say it is less tolerant.

The key survey findings include:

  • Openness: 6 out of 10 respondents avoid holding hands in public with their partners.
  • Harassment: 2 out of 5 respondents say they were harassed during the past year before the survey took place.
  • Attacks: 1 out of 5 trans and intersex people were physically or sexually attacked, double of that of other LGBTI groups.
  • Discrimination: 1 out of 5 respondents feel discriminated against at work and over 1 out of 3 respondents feel discriminated against when going out to eat, drink or are being social.
  • Economic situation: 1 out of 3 LGBTI people say they have difficulties to make ends meet. The situation is worse for intersex and trans people (about 1 out of 2).