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:

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