„Disappearing Borders: Empowering LGBT Community and Allies in Lithuania“ 2017 05 – 2019 01

Throughout the years of working with the local volunteers and experience implementing EVS projects LGL observed that volunteers working in the field of human rights are not only empowering local LGBT* youth and community to live more openly and be much more active when it comes to standing up for their rights. With the help from LGL these activists gain knowledge, skills and experience needed for their further work in the area of human rights.

An overall objective of this project is to combine our knowledge and experience with the “fresh” ideas of volunteers and to create initiatives in order to develop new tools for encouraging young people to be active and informed citizens of the EU. This project foresees to host two EVS volunteers who, in addition to regular office activities  would be responsible for the development of the first LGBT* community center in Lithuania and for activities of re-integration of older LGBT* people (54+)  in the society.

bioName: João

Position: EVS volunteer

E-Mail: joao@gay.lt

About the volunteer: Activism has always played an important role in my interests. I try to participate actively in the communities I navigate through. Whether trying to challenge the mind-set of my family and friends, or in a more formal context, as the case of this volunteering experience, I am a firm believer in fighting for the human rights of all. It all comes down to this question – if I know things can get better, why shouldn’t I do something about it? I have a Bachelor’s degree in Languages and International Relations, from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto (Portugal), which included a period of mobility studies in Warsaw’s Collegium Civitas (Poland), through the Erasmus program. Following my B.A., I completed a master in Tourism. For my thesis, I decided to research on gay tourism in Portugal, as a way to contest the lack of gay academia in this area. I leant on queer and feminist studies to theorize about the importance of queer spaces for the development of the LGBTQ+ community.My interest in LGBTQ+ issues, are fuelled by own identity. Through my upbringing as a gay black man, I have become interested in working with intersecting identities, and uplifting the voice of the disfranchised and unheard. I am volunteering through the European Voluntary Service, in the project “Disappearing Borders: Empowering LGBT community and allies in Lithuania”. My goal is to gain experience in LGBTQ+ activism, learning from the experienced organization that is LGL. Furthermore, I am certain I will gain a brand new perspective on how to navigate the world, as a queer person, and hopefully I will get to interact and exchange ideas with the community.

ArnoldName: Arnold

Position: EVS volunteer

E-Mail: arnold@gay.lt

About the volunteer: My sensitivity for human rights and equality springs from my socio-political situation as a member of Romania’s considerable Hungarian minority group and its LGBT+ community. Because of my interest in the way religious tenets conflict with modern concepts on sexual orientation and gender identity, I completed a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies at Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania. During my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity to study abroad twice as an exchange student. Thus, I studied at the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) with an Erasmus-grant, and at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest with a Makovecz-scholarship, respectively. The aforementioned universities offered a wide range of courses, many of them including topics such as gender equity, feminist theology, the social situation of women in various historical periods or the ethical perception of homosexuality. In my BA thesis I conducted an intertextual analysis of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah by using early Jewish writings and commentaries on the Qur’an in order to provide an alternative interpretation of the narrative which might lead to positive changes in religious discourse regarding LGBT rights in the Middle East. In addition to my studies, I translated for MozaiQ (a Romanian LGBT rights organisation) in a crowdfunding campaign against the referendum to ban same-sex marriage, and took part in several LGBT-related projects (ex. Youth in Action project “Rainbow School Backpack”, the X. LGBT Christian Forum of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and the Summer School “Action for Equality”). My main reason for volunteering at LGL is to gain in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience in the field of LGBT+ activism.

Participants of this project – two young people from Portugal and Romania, motivated and passionate about LGBT* persons rights will spend 10 months in Lithuania (starting in December 2017) and will be engaged in these activities:

  • Learning through non-formal education and artistic activism methods;
  • Community engaging and building, volunteer networking activities;
  • Studying human rights, EU law, democratic processes, advocacy topics, Advocacy
    Coordinator Shadowing and Policy Coordinators’ work;
  • Working in partnership with other human rights NGOs;
  • Studying Lithuanian language, practicing it;
  • Working on the personal project/idea;
  • Writing articles and newsletters in English for the organization’s websites (www.atviri.lt, www.lgl.lt);
  • Organizing educational documentary film screenings, game evenings, cultural and other social activities in the areas in which volunteers have experience and own ideas for activating the LGBT* community and building cooperation between the LGBT* community and society;
  • Helping with organizing different social and educational events both for LGL and the community center (such as seminars, cultural evenings and social campaigns);
  • Communication activities (development of a special on-line forum for the participants of the community center; development of the community center brochure; publish articles on the seminars and workshops organized and promote the new ones, etc.);
  • Working with the on-line shop (checking new orders, sending merchandise, etc.);
  • Helping to implement international youth projects (fundraising efforts);
  • Helping in administration work of the ongoing projects (preparation of documents, updates on web page, reporting etc.);
  • Developing ideas for future projects and activities of LGL;
  • Collecting data for various documentation activities and surveys;
  • Participating in various events organized by LGL;
  • Taking part in Baltic Pride in Riga and help with the event promotion.

Volunteers are required to have a strong command of English and a previous knowledge / interest in LGBTQ issues.

Links to project results: