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




There have been several studies showing the extent of Lithuania’s animosity towards homosexuals. Only 52% of Lithuanians support equal opportunities for gay people in the labour market, according to a state ombudsman’s report. 42% of those asked said they would be scared if their child was taught by a gay teacher. A study by the Vienna-based European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights showed that 61% of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transexual, intersex) people in Lithuania had been discriminated against or harassed – the highest rate in the EU.

No fewer than five draft laws are being drawn up which could quite easily be called homophobic or anti-transexual: bans on sex changes and gay adoption, criminalisation of, ‘the defamation of constitutional ethical values,’ (i.e. the idea that marriage is only between a man and a woman), the removal of ‘homophobic insults’ as an offence from the Penal Code, and the halting of public financial support for public protests (i.e. gay pride festivals). What’s more, several attempts have been made to enshrine marriage in the Constitution as an institution between a man and a woman, as has been done in Croatia.

A TV ad for Baltic Pride was rejected by public broadcasters a few months ago due to an amendment to child protection law which came into force in 2010 and which forbids ‘propaganda in favour of homosexual, bisexual and polygamous relationships.’

The European Parliament voted to approve a resolution against the amendment, but this had little effect. The only way to get the ad shown is to televise it after 11pm, with an ‘adult content’ warning preceding it. As a result, only one commercial channel has approved it for broadcast during the day.  ‘It’s like Russia here,’ says Simonenko, referring to the Russian law forbidding ‘homosexual propaganda.’ One human rights activist was recently imprisoned for breaking this law.

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