Our IGLYO Member Organisation the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL) has been working hard to advocate for LGBTQI youth in an increasingly hostile environment in Lithuania.
On the 28th of September date, LGL practiced their right of peaceful assembly by protesting the provision of the Lithuanian Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information as well as to highlight the need for inclusive education. This protest was part of their IGLYO Grants 2023 project.
This law is a type we have seen several times in Europe. On its face it looks like it's protecting children but ultimately it will be used to censor LGBTQI content meaning young people cannot learn about LGBTQI people or see positive representation. It's part of a severe anti-LGBTQI agenda.
Our IGLYO Board Member, João, joined LGL for this important demonstration. Unfortunately, a counterprotest by a group of anti-LGBTQI “pro-family values" people became hostile. Rather than allowing LGL to practice their human right of peaceful protest, they harassed them, interrupted speeches, and trampled on the flags brought by LGL. Unsurprisingly, the police present at the scene did not intervene or help the LGBTQI community.
Dainius Žalimas, Dean at the Law Faculty at the Vytautas Magnus University and former President of the Constitutional Court of The Republic of Lithuania said this about the day: “We have a very dangerous precedent. One of the fundamental freedoms of a pluralistic democracy has been attacked with impunity, and any peaceful assembly can be suppressed. Such impunity can discourage the exercise of freedom of assembly”.
We stand in solidarity with our Member LGL and the entire LGBTQI community of Lithuania. IGLYO supports LGL's work through our IGLYO Grants system and will continue to work closely with them. There has never been a more important time to fight for the rights of LGBTQI young people which are under a coordinated attack by far right individuals across Europe.
We will continue to fight this wave of hate every day, along with our Member Organisations. LGBTQI young people deserve to live free from discrimination as their true authentic selves and we will not stop until this is a reality.
IGLYO Executive Director