Thursday, December 5, 2013

Minorities in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland

Attitudes towards confessional and sexual minorities in the discourse of the media in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland from a historical perspective 

Statistical information about confessional and sexual minorities in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland on the basis of European Commission's Eurobarometers (EC 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012).
  • In EC 2012, 69% Latvians, 90% Lithuanians and 92% Poles identified themselves as Christians (Catholics: 24%, 84% and 91%, respectively). There were no respondents identifying themselves as Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddist or Hindu. At the same time, 3% Latvians, 4% Lithuanians and 3% Poles considered themselves members of a religious minority.
  • The only country with any respondents identifying themselves as members of a sexual minority was Poland - 1%. At the same time, 15% Latvians, 12% Lithuanians and 9% Poles said they had homosexual friends.
  • In EC 2008, 2009 and 2012 respondents were asked whether they would feel comfortable having a person belonging to a sexual or religious minority in the highest elected political position in their country. On a scale from 1 (very uncomfortable) to 10 (totally comfortable), Poles scored the lowest on answer 1 and the highest on answer 10 in all cases. In all countries, respondents were much more comfortable with a representative of a religious than sexual minority.
  • The perception of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation seems to have slightly declined from 2008 to 2012. In 2008, 36% Latvians, 43% Lithuanians and 52% Poles said discrimination was widespread; in 2012, the results were 44%, 40% and 35%, respectively. The perception of discrimination on the basis of religion/belief was much lower. The results for "widespread" were: in 2008 - 10%, 11% and 27%; in 2012: 10%, 14%, 21%.
  • To compare with other European countries: in 2008, the average for level of comfort with a homosexual neighbour in the EU was 7.9. The lowest results were recorded in Lithuania (6.1), Latvia (5.5) and Bulgaria (5.3). Poland was among the countries with highest level of comfort with a neighbour representing another religion or belief (9.2, EU average – 8.5). 
More results in table form here

Information on sexual minorities
In 2008 and 2009, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights issued two reports on homophobia and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in member states, the former concerned with legal aspects and the latter with social issues. A compilation of results regarding Latvia, Lithuania and Poland is available here.

ILGA-Europe (the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans- and Intersexual Association, Europe region) gathers information on the situation of sexual minorities in various countries. Here are links to ILGA websites dedicated to: Latvia, Lithuania, Poland.
A comparative summary of the legal situation of sexual minorities in these countries is available in table form here

Other resources
  • Kaspars Goba's documentary "Homo@lv" about the gay pride parades in Riga (with English subtitles)
  • Movies prepared by the Lithuanian Gay League for the Baltic Pride 2013 event
  • Statements made by Lithuanian Members of Parliament on homosexuality

Publications of the Polish Campaign Against Homophobia: 
  • Situation of LGBT persons in Poland. 2010 and 2011 report (Makuchowska & Pawlęga (eds.) 2012)
  • Equality Lesson. Attitudes and Needs of School Staff and Youth Towards Homophobia in School (summary of Świerszcz (ed.) 2012)
  • Violence motivated by homophobia. 2011 report (Makuchowska (ed.) 2011)
  • Heading in the Right Direction. A guide book of LGBT rights in Europe 2011 (Schuster et al. 2011)

Other publications

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