On the 17th of May, 2015 LGBT*-friendly foreign embassies in Vilnius raised the rainbow flag to honour the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) and to show their support for the LGBT* community. The rainbow flag decorated the embassies of Italy, Finland, Norway, Austria, Germany, Denmark and Holland.
Representatives of the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius posted photos with the rainbow flag to Facebook for the second year in a row. “We are continuing the tradition we started last year of raising the rainbow flag at the embassy, thereby openly declaring that there is no place in modern society for discrimination against LGBT people! Happy IDAHOT!,” reads the embassy’s Facebook caption.
“This year, Rainbow Days are truly special. Foreign diplomatic representatives in Lithuania are unprecedentedly united in their commitment to promoting the tolerance of LGBT* people in our country. The rainbow flag was raised in eight foreign embassies this year,” remarked Executive Director of LGL Vladimir Simonko.
The national LGBT* rights organisation LGL welcomes the decision of foreign embassies in Vilnius to show their support for Lithuania’s LGBT* community and is thankful for their active cooperation in organising the events and activities of Rainbow Days 2015. We hope that the position of these foreign embassies serves as a catalyst for broader discussions about the rights of LGBT* people in Lithuania.
May 17th was an especially important day, as exactly 25 years passed since the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. The day has been commemorated throughout the world since 2004, and in Lithuania since 2007, when LGL organised Rainbow Days for the first time.
This year, Rainbow Days events are taking place not just in Vilnius, but in Kaunas and Klaipėda as well. Rainbow Days will feature discussions, film screenings, community events and public campaigns, all of which aim to draw the public’s attention to the social exclusion experienced by the Lithuanian LGBT* community.
© Photo courtesy of Augustas Didžgalvis and U.S. Embassy Vilnius