LGL Travels to Iceland to Learn More about TRANS* Inclusion

On March 19th-22nd, 2015 two representatives of the national LGBT* rights organization LGL visited the partner organization Q – Queer Student Association in Reykjavik, Iceland. The main purpose of this 4-day visit was to acquire additional skills and competences in advocating for human rights of transgender individuals and to draw upon the best Icelandic practices in the fields of equality and non-discrimination. The follow-up visit to Iceland by two representatives of the association LGL, namely the Executive Director Vladimir Simonko and the Policy Coordinator (Human Rights) Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius, was organized with the view of building upon already existing patterns of cooperation with the Icelandic partners. The representatives of the association Q already had the chance to visit Lithuania in the course of trans* awareness raising campaign “Access All Areas!”, which took place in Vilnius in August, 2014. The above mentioned activities are taking place within the framework of the project “Towards Practical Implementation of LGBT* Rights in Lithuania”, funded under the NGO Programme Lithuania by the EEA Grants.

Upon their arrival on March 19th, 2015 (Thursday) the representatives the national LGBT* rights organization LGL participated in a movie screening of the Celluloid Closet with the representatives of the association Q and the students of the MA Programme of Gender Studies in the University of Iceland. The following discussion was facilitated by the university’s lecturer Svandís Anna Sigurðardóttir. This activity provided the participants with unique opportunities to discuss differences of popular representation of LGBT* individuals in the mainstream culture both in Lithuania and in Iceland.

On March 20th, 2015 (Friday) the Lithuanian delegation met with the Director of Human Rights Office of Reykjavík in Reykjavík City Hall Anna Kristinsdóttir and the Expert on Gender Issues Arnþrúður Ingólfsdóttir. The meeting enabled exchange of the best practices in mainstreaming LGBT* issues through the public actions by municipal authorities. Later on that day the LGL’s Policy Coordinator (Human Rights) Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius together with the prominent trans* activist in Iceland Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir provided a public lecture on trans people‘s rights and current situation in Iceland and Lithuania. The participants of the public lecture had the chance to compare and to assess differences in protection of human rights for transgender individuals in two represented countries.

On March 21st, 2015 (Saturday) the representatives the national LGBT* rights organization LGL met with the medical gender reassignment team of Landspítalinn (i.e. national hospital of Iceland). The psychiatrist Elsa Bára Traustadóttir and the endocrinologist Arna Guðmundsdóttir were present in the course of the meeting. This meeting was extremely relevant for the Lithuanian delegation, because currently the joint working group within the Lithuanian Ministries of Health and Justice are developing the algorithm for providing medical gender reassignment services in Lithuania. The Icelandic medical professionals also expressed their interest in providing the medical professionals in Lithuania with the relevant knowledge and encouraged the representatives of the association LGL to explore further avenues of cooperation. In the evening association LGL and association Q organized a joint TransPizza event for the members of the local trans* community. In the course of the social event, the group brainstormed on how to encourage trans* activism in Lithuania.

According to the LGL’s Policy Coordinator (Human Rights) Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius, the visit to Iceland was genuinely inspiring. “We did not only learn a lot of interesting practices, but also very important contacts were established. If the medical professionals from Iceland potentially transfer their knowledge to the Lithuanian colleagues, this type of exchange would immensely improve the situation of trans* people in Lithuania.”

The LGL’s visit to Iceland was covered by the local press, activist groups and association Q.

On behalf of the national LGBT* rights association LGL, we would like to thank the association Q and their representatives Ugla Stefanía Kristjönudóttir Jónsdóttir and Sigurður Ýmir Sigurjónsson for welcoming and informative stay. THANK YOU!

eea_grants_logo_2014The events were organized as part of the project “Towards Practical Implementation of LGBT* Rights in Lithuania” which is supported by the NGO Programme Lithuania funded by EEA Grants.