Monday, June 20, 2016

Baltic Pride 2016!

The Baltic Pride is an annual event organized each year by a different Baltic country - Estonia, Lithuania or Latvia. This year it took place in Vilnius, Lithuania from June 16th to June 19th.

The Baltic Pride 2016 is accompanied by the LGBT* cultural/social festival “Kreivės”, taking place from June 13th to June 23th. See the website of the festival.

An interesting initiative is the Pride House, offering the following events each day of the Baltic Pride week:
Intersex: medicine, sociology, psychology, advocacy – On Monday at 3 PM
Official Rainbow InfoPoint and Pride House opening – On Monday at 5 PM
Staying safe, healthy and fabulous (LT) – On Tuesday at 3.30 PM
All the shades of sexuality – On Tuesday at 5.45 PM
Beyond gender binarism: between “he” and “she” (LT/EN) – On Wednesday at 1 PM
Bisex speed-dating (LT) – On Wednesday at 9 PM
Building bridges, not walls: how to be a good ally – On Thursday at 2 PM
#IDAHOTby: queer representation in Belarus – On Thursday at 9 PM
Joy of sport for all – On Friday at 4 PM
TOUCH – On Friday at 7 PM
#BP16 closing brunch – On Sunday at 12 PM

It is impressive that the organizers have taken an effort to represent other "letters" than the usual L & G, by devoting an event to intersex persons or organizing the bisex speed-dating: one does not often see the "B" standing on its own!
Worth mentioning are also initiatives aimed against the traditional binary thinking (Beyond gender binarism, All the shades of sexuality) that is still often employed also by people critical of heteronormativity (binary thinking about gender by the LGB community to the exclusion of trans* and inter* persons, binary thinking about hetero- and homosexuality to the exclusion of bi-, pan-, asexuality).

It's important that the Baltic Pride found support from many political and cultural institutions. Although the Lithuanian Government was not represented in the Saturday March, the Vice-Minister of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania Julius Pagojus spoke at the Baltic Pride conference on Friday, and the Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius published a video in which he welcomes the Pride participants in Vilnius. Some representatives of the Lithuanian Parliament and Vilnius City Council participated in both the conference and the parade.
Baltic Pride was supported by numerous embassies located in Vilnius: Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA.
Other supporters: Human Rights, Amnesty International, the Harvey Milk Foundation, EuroPride Madrid 2017. The full list can be found here.

Baltic Pride March
The march started off at Lukiški Square at 1 PM and reached the Bernardine Garden around 3 PM, passing through the most popular and touristy places in Vilnius (Gedimino Prospektas, the Cathedral). It was a happy, colourful, vibrant march! There were a few protesters who, dark and moody, provided an amazing contrast to the lively (and lovely) crowd.
There were some police here and there but their assistance was unnecessary. The most violent thing I saw was a man showing the crowd the middle finger. The crowd sent him kisses back!
Spectators and passers-by were not divided from the march and could join it spontaneously - many of them did.

Some photos:

Photos shared by the European Greens:

Photos shared by the organizers - LGL:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Baltic Pride 2016 Conference

On Friday, June 17th 2016 I took part in the Baltic Pride Conference in the Tolerance Center in Vilnius, Lithuania. The conference's theme was “Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships: Emerging International Consensus and Local Opportunities”.

The one-day conference program was very intense - next to welcome addresses and keynote speeches by politicians and activists, it offered sessions on global, European, Lithuanian and Baltic-regional levels of considering and working for human rights (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th session, respectively). We heard the following speakers:

Welcome addresses:
Julius Pagojus – Vice-Minister of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania
Jutta Schmitz – Ambassador of Germany to Lithuania
Vladimir Simonko – Executive Director of the National LGBT* Rights Organization LGL
Bert van der Lingen - Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Lithuania
Kajsa Ollongren – Deputy Mayor of City of Amsterdam
Nils Muižnieks – Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights (video)

Keynote speeches:
Stuart Milk – President of the Harvey Milk Foundation
Ulrike Lunacek – Vice-President of the European Parliament and Co-Chair of the EP’s LGBTI Intergroup

1st session:
Moderation: Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius – Policy Coordinator (Human Rights) of the National LGBT* Rights Organization LGL Lithuania
Tanuja Munnoo – Provincial Manager of the South African Human Rights Commission
Ashley Fowler – Program Coordinator for HRC Global at Human Rights Campaign, USA
Helen Kennedy – Executive Director of the EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust

2nd session:
Moderation: Alexander Schuster – Lecturer in Law at the University of Trente, Italy
Erwann Binet – Member of the French National Assembly
Monica Cirinna – Member of the Italian Senate
Robert Wintemute – Professor of Human Rights Law at the King’s College London

3rd session:
Moderation: Natalija Bitiukova – Deputy Director of the Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
Danutė Jočienė – Judge of the Constitutional Court in Lithuania
Vytautas Mizaras – Professor of Law at Vilnius University, Attorney at law
Dalia Kuodytė – Member of the Lithuanian Parliament
Marija Aušrinė Pavilionienė – Member of the Lithuanian Parliament

4th session:
Moderation: Birutė Sabatauskaitė – Director of the Lithuanian Center for Human Rights
Imre Sooäär – Member of the Estonian Parliament
Ilze Vinkele – Member of the Latvian Parliament
Aušrinė Armonaitė – Member of the Vilnius City Council

Worth emphasising is the participation of a representative of the Lithuanian government, especially when considering Lithuania being the worst country in the EU when it comes to legal protection of LGBT* rights. Also, the Mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius wrote an open letter to the participants of the March on Saturday, June 18th.

Some photos from the event:

welcome addresses:

Ulrike Lunacek speaking right after the touching and intense talk by Stuart Milk (sitting) dedicated to the victims of the Orlando shooting

 the organiser, V. Simonko

 prof. Wintemute

a representative of Lithuanian politics

 the venue

Monday, June 13, 2016

New MA Programme in Endangered Languages and Language Documentation

ELLDO - Endangered Languages and Language Documentation MA Programme in English at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland!

This can be your ELLDOrado!

Website of the new Programme: link

Programme Overview: link

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Poco is on

The new website of Postcolonial Studies at the University of Bremen, of which I am a member, has just gone online:

Nowa strona Studiów Postkolonialnych na Uniwersytecie w Bremie - jednostki, w której pracuję - właśnie pojawiła się w Internecie:

Jaunā Brēmenes universitātes Postkoloniālo Studiju (vienības, kur strādāju) mājaslapa ir jau internetā: