The theme for Rainbow Days 2015—LGBT* youth—was inspired by real-life events that are taking place around us. According to results from a Eurobarometer survey, 81% of LGBT* youth in Lithuania hides their LGBT* identity in school. It is becoming quite clear that the country’s LGBT* youth does not feel safe opening up about their sexual orientation or gender identity, as they face discrimination in their educational institutions as a result. Unfortunately, this problem is effectively invisible, as it remains unacknowledged and unaddressed by most parents, teachers, researches and educational specialists.
This dangerous trend has been further evidenced by recent study “Homophobic Bullying in Lithuanian Schools” by the national LGBT* rights organization LGL. In summarizing the study’s results, it can be said that the majority of teachers do not recognize the extent of the problem of homophobic bullying in schools; only one-tenth of surveyed teachers reported knowing homosexual and bisexual students, and the majority stated that they very rarely, if ever, noticed incidents of homophobic bullying, despite the prevalence of such incidents in Lithuanian schools.
The fact that discrimination against LGBT* youth in Lithuania is at once widespread and virtually unrecognized is very alarming. LGL sincerely hopes that by dedicating Rainbow Days to this especially vulnerable group within the LGBT* community, misconceptions can be dispelled and tolerance can come about.