On 4th June, 2020 Lithuanian TV show “Colours” (Lith. Spalvos) and its creator Elena Reimerytė was presented with a National Equality and Diversity Award in the award category Rainbow Award. The project was recognized for documentary, which boldly talks about LGBTI topics and raises questions about the heteronormative world. The TV show is available to stream on the website of the national broadcaster LRT.
The TV show gained national attention when an episode portraying a parenthood journey of a married gay men couple from United Kingdom was released. Right-wing affiliated activists then appealed to various institutions as well as yellow press, asking to remove “Gay Dads” content that allegedly violates the Law on the Protection of Minors Against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information.
A protest next to headquarters of the national broadcaster with the aim to stop it from featuring LGBT families and other related topics was initiated by a group of homophobic activists and permission was issued by the Vilnius City Municipality.
Homophobic activists also filed a complaint against the program featuring LGBTI families to the Government-approved broadcaster regulatory authority which had to investigate whether program featuring gay dads is compliant with the relevant Lithuanian regulations. All of the upcoming episodes of the same series “Colours” featuring LGBTI topics were postponed until regulatory authority took a decision: by majority vote it was ruled that broadcasting a program featuring LGBTI family did not breach any existing regulations.
In an interview with LGL, creator of the TV show “Colours” Elena Reimerytė claimed that she has also received strong public support, with more than 10,000 people signing a petition against censorship of LGBTI content.
“When I came up with the idea of creating a show on gay dads, I thought about how exciting it would be to show these beautiful families through the national broadcaster’s platform. It was the first show on the subject to set a positive example for the representation of LGBTI families on major channels. I would have liked to have grown up in a country where there are various families and their rights are not restricted,” insisted E. Reimerytė.
“This whole situation has forced me to find out the meaning of the application of the Law on the Protection of Minors Against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information in our country, and to explain it to many people in simple language. We are the only ones in the whole of the European Union to have this kind of law. A similar law is enacted only in Russia,” reminded the author of the show.
“Our show received several dozen complaints and the aforementioned law was discussed in the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission, which for the first time assessed the LGBTI content so positively. This is a great achievement, because we now have a clear precedent when the provisions of this law do not apply. After this decision, we can feel freer by creating shows on LGBTI topics. In the new season of the show “Colours”, which was released in April, we will be sure to talk about more important LGBTI topics,” claimed E. Reimerytė.