Tuesday, November 1, 2016

1st Nordic Rainbow Month in Lithuania

    Vilnius -- The third and last stage of the ILGCN's (rainbow culture international) /Tupilak’s  & Bears International's 1st Nordic Rainbow History & Arts Month 2016 has ended in the Lithuanian capital October 29-31 with presentations, discussions, poetry, films, art and photography. This followed three weeks of events in the Swedish capital and the opening, first two days of October in Umeå in the far north of Sweden.

    Lithuanian artists and curators Karolina RimkutéGabriéle Gervickaité and Laima Kreivyté presented the often dramatic history and present the sensitive situation of Lithuanian rainbow art and photography as a powerful part of the struggle against discrimination and homophobia.

    Former Lithuanian parliamentarian, Marija Pavilioniené, who finally received in person the ILGCN's "Bifrost 2014" award diploma -- for bridge-building between the heterosexual and LGBT communities -- also praised the importance of LGBT culture, confirmed the role of the Baltic nations as part of the Nordic family and immediately became a member of Tupilak (Nordic rainbow culture workers) which has been supporting the month-long event. 

    Ingrida Kaulinyte, working with the Lithuanian Gay League, made a thorough, photo-filled presentation of the history of the LGL -- including videos banned by the authorities for "spreading" LGBT propaganda."   She and other LGL colleagues received the ILGCN "Arco Nordica 2016" diploma honoring the organizers of the highly-praised Baltic Pride-Vilnius of June, 2016.   The award is given in honor of the late, pioneering gay activist, Rasmus Rasmmusen, of the Faroe Islands.

                                                     Bifrost Award to Swedish Embassy

    At the History Month's final day -- October 31 -- which took place at the Swedish Embassy, first secretary Susanna Hughes re-newed the embassy's support for the Lithuanian LGBT struggle against discrimination and for human rights. On behalf of the embassy, she also received the ILGCN "Bifrost 2016" award -- named after the Viking word for the "rainbow."  She also confirmed that the brand new Swedish ambassador to Lithuania will continue the strong and public support given to the LGBT community by the last Swedish envoy to Vilnius.

     "Discussions included pledges to make joint Swedish-Lithuanian efforts to include LGBT colleagues from neighboring Belarus -- the last dictatorship in Eastern Europe -- in the next Nordic History Month and other events in both countries.  Another pledge aimed at attempting to link Swedish and Lithuanian trans persons for mutual contact and support and another to seek still-hidden LGBT Bears in Lithuania -- as stereotype-breaking personalities needed on the rainbow barricades and future members of Bears International," said Bill Schiller of the ILGCN, Tupilak and Bears International.

     "Other pledges were made to work together to encourage more Nordic cities to join in the events of the 2nd Nordic Rainbow History & Art Month - 2017," concluded Schiller.  

      The 0-budget event in Vilnius was made possible by the rent-free provision of space at the Paviljonas café -- which functioned as the Baltic Pride 2016 information center -- and the Swedish Embassy situated in the historic Old Town of Vilnius.