"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Thursday, May 18, 2017

OF All Places

This is not something I would have expected:

Lithuania’s Parliament marked the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia this week.

Marked on May 17 around the world, IDAHOT raises awareness of persecution and hate crimes faced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals and transgender people around the world. . . .

The day is heavily marked in countries that are already progressive on LGBT rights, but it is also making inroads in places where there is still a way to go on LGBT equality.

Lithuania has lagged behind on equality, with no legal recognition for same-sex couples, no gender recognition for transgender people, a ban on same-sex adoption, and generally negative social attitudes.

However, progress is slowly being made, and the day was marked this week with celebrations in the country’s Parliament in Vilnius.

My father's family is Lithuanian; my grandparents came to the US before World War I, which marks us, I guess, as the first wave. I went to university with a group of kids whose families came over after World War II -- most of them were born in Germany. They tended to be very conservative, mostly because they hated Russia and everything Russian, but I suspect they reflected attitudes prevalent in the old country -- as the article notes, Lithuania has not been on the forefront of the struggle for gay rights.

But, times change, and so do attitudes. They even lit up Vilnius city hall with rainbow colors.

A more substantial mark of a change in attitude is this:

But two asylum seekers from Chechnya have been granted asylum in Lithuania, reports the Russian Interfax news agency.

Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has confirmed that the two men have been granted asylum there after fleeing persecution in Russia.
He said that the Lithuanian Government had “issued visas to two people from Chechnya who were persecuted because of their sexual orientation”.

“We have consistently raised these issues both within the EU and in the parliamentary structures of the Council of Europe – regarding the possibility of helping and, if necessary, granting asylum,” he added.

The US, under our neo-fascist regime, has so far refused to grant visas to gays fleeing persecution in Chechnya.

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