The US will continue to closely monitor the LGBT situation in Lithuania
source: The Lithuania Tribune
The US Charge d’ Affaires Anne Hall emphasised that protection of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) community’s human rights is a priority of the US, and that the US is fully behind the Lithuanian LGBT community. The Embassy looks forward to the second Baltic Pride parade to be held in Lithuania, in July of this summer, Hall stated in an interview with the Lithuania Tribune on 29 November.
The Lithuania Tribune; Let’s us talk about an issue that Lithuania is experiencing that are problems with the rights of LGBT people. We have just started talking about it as lots of things are still to be done. Do you think Lithuania is moving towards the right direction on this issue?
Anne Hall; Absolutely. I think that certainly there is more work that needs to be done, but I also try to remain cognizant of the fact that it has taken the United States a very long time for us to get to where we are on this issue. Secretary Clinton has made a priority of her tenure as Secretary of State to focus on human rights and tolerance.
We have worked on these issues in two key ways here in Lithuania: in helping to combat violence against women and on supporting LGBT issues as issues of human rights. Lithuania had a Baltic pride parade in 2010 and I wasn’t here for that but I would say it was largely successful. I know there were a couple of problems, but by in large it went well and so I am confident it will be successful again this year. I understand that this year the Lithuanian Gay League is considering scheduling the Baltic Pride parade to coincide more or less with the opening of Lithuania’s EU presidency and I think that would be very exciting, if that would happen.
(TLT) Do you have any tips for Lithuania, as mentioning the issue? Maybe problems of timing issues, perhaps education…?
A.H. Education is certainly a very important part of it. One of the things that we have done in the US is approach this through the eyes and the perspective of parents who have children, who may feel that they are different at a young age and they are bullied by their peers because of it. I think it is important to put a human face on people who are gay, lesbian and transgender and to demystify it and to try to clear up this perception about how this occurs and what this means. I think that most prejudice comes out of fear. I am sure that just as in the US it must be the children here who suffer at a young age because they are different. I think that is one of the areas in which we could help. The Lithuanian Gay League is part of the Human Rights Coalition [a group of 7 NGOs committed to advancing human rights issues in Lithuania], and I think that is an important step that this coalition was created. I hope they will continue to be active. It would be very important for this Baltic Pride parade to take place peacefully and successfully. And I have actually no doubt that it will and so I assume it will be as good or probably even more successful this time than it was in 2010.