LGL: gender should be introduced as legal concept in Lithuania
Lithuanian Gay League (LGL) is concerned about the rhetoric of certain Lithuanian MPs opposing the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention pertaining to gender-based violence. LGL has approached the European Institute of Gender Equality (EIGE), the EU agency located in Vilnius, to request support in emphasizing the importance of the concept of gender in combating structural violence against women in particular and gender inequalities in general.
As a member state of the Council of Europe, Lithuania is under consideration to ratify the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The Convention text clearly sets out the importance of the concept of gender in combating structural violence against women, defines gender as socially constructed (Article 3 paragraph C), and obliges parties of the Convention to implement measures to protect the right of victims without discrimination on any ground including gender identity (Article 4 paragraph 3).
Lithuanian law currently does not recognize the concept of gender identity, and gender identity is not a prohibited ground of discrimination under Lithuanian equality legislation. Because gender as a legal concept would be introduced into the Lithuanian legal system as a result of ratifying the Convention, it has faced strong opposition in the Lithuanian Parliament.
Member of Parliament Jonas Rimantas Dagys held a press conference on 22 March 2013 titled In the name of combating violence, children are tried to be convinced that there are other sexes in addition to the biologically determined sexes of men and women, or another crusade against family. In the course of this conference Mr. Dagys referred to the concept of gender as “a detrimental idea, which has nothing in common either with the struggle against violence or with women's rights”. Opposing the ratification of the Convention, MP Dagys concluded that “it would go against nature to seek to introduce additional sexes, which cannot be comprehended by anybody”. The audio recording of the conference in Lithuanian can be accessed here.
The LGL's letter to EIGE on the ongoing debate can be accessed here.