Society

The jeans with a zip on the backside: Lithuanian MP Petras Gražulis had the jeans made specially to show his disgust for homosexuals

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The fight against homophobia in Lithuania still has a long way to go. Politics, media, and the Church stand between the LGBT community and social acceptance. And the EU doesn’t seem to be doing anything to change the status quo.

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WP_000220Lithuanian MP Petras Gražulis proudly holds up a pair of jeans with a zip on the backside. We are in his office in the Seimas- Lithuania’s parliament- discussing the 55-year-old MP’s hatred of homosexuals. Gražulis is the leader of the populist right-wing party ‘Order and Justice’. He has had the jeans made specially to show his disgust for homosexuals.

On 12 November he visited the LGBT association in Vilnius to show them off in person and to offer a pair as a gift. ‘I’m going to get them patented, I’ll sell tonnes of them,’ he assures me, before launching into a long diatribe backed up by an abundance of Bible quotes. He proposes ways of ‘curing’ homosexuality, which he calls ‘a curse brought from the EU.’

WP_000223Gražulis’ initiative would seem like nothing more than a joke in bad taste if it wasn’t so distressingly symptomatic of the state of gay rights in Lithuania, a country of 3.5 million people.

‘Everyone’s heard about what he did,’ laments Vladimir Simonko, president of the Lithuanian Gay League (LGL), ‘but not a single politician has condemned it.’

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