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HomeLithuaniaLGBT, Roma discrimination prevalent in Lithuania, but things are improving – Eurobarometer

LGBT, Roma discrimination prevalent in Lithuania, but things are improving – Eurobarometer

Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, age and Roma ethnicity is the most widespread type of discrimination in Lithuania, but the situation is getting better, according to a new Eurobarometer survey published last week.

State institutions are not doing enough to reduce the number of discriminated individuals and groups in Lithuania, a representative of a human rights organization says.

Last year’s Eurobarometer poll found that a third of Lithuanians would not be happy if a co-worker with whom they had daily contact was from the LGBTI+ community, and a quarter of them would not want to work with a Roma colleague.

The last time EU citizens were asked the same questions was in 2019. Back then, a third of people in Lithuania did not want to work with Roma people, 37 percent said they did not want a gay, lesbian or bisexual colleague and 42 percent were against transgender people.

The survey showed that, compared to 2019, the number of people who said they would be unhappy working with a black colleague has decreased. Four years ago, 21 percent said so, compared to 12 percent last year.

No transgender person in top positions

When asked about the top political office in Lithuania, the largest number of respondents – 49 percent (59 percent in 2019) – said they would not want to see a transgender person in it.

45 percent would not like to see a lesbian, gay or bisexual person in top political positions, 43 percent would not like to see a Roma person in such positions (59 percent in 2019).

People would be least dissatisfied if a woman, a young person or a person with a disability were president. The same trends were observed in a survey conducted four years ago.

67 percent said they would be unhappy if their child had a romantic relationship with a transgender person (71 percent in 2019), and 59 percent would not want their child to be in a romantic relationship with a person of the same sex (70 percent in 2019).

46 percent would be unhappy if their child had a romantic relationship with an old person, as well as with a Roma or Muslim. Four years ago, more than half of respondents said so.

The survey also showed that 61 percent believed that age could be considered a disadvantage for a candidate looking for a job, up from 59 percent in 2019.

43 percent agreed that a candidate’s disability could also be considered a disadvantage in seeking employment (51 percent in 2019), while 42 percent thought being a Roma person could be considered a disadvantage (41 percent in 2019).

No systemic efforts

The Eurobarometer survey shows that discrimination against various groups is still an acute problem in Lithuania, and there’s a clear difference with other EU countries, Arturas Rudomanskis, who chairs the Tolerant Youth Association, told BNS.

“Some social groups that experience discrimination remain the same. Roma, Muslims, LGBT people, transgender people. These statistics show that not enough efforts are being made in our country to tackle discrimination,” Rudomanskis pointed out, adding that the existing anti-discrimination program in Lithuania is not effective.

Things are improving

Istvan Kvik, chair of the Roma community in Lithuania, is pleased that surveys show that discrimination against Roma is slowly disappearing.

In his words, one of the community’s activities over the last four years has been to improve the employment situation for Roma people, and the GYPSY lounge & grill restaurant, which Kvik opened in 2020, was one of such steps. However, the restaurant closed in October.

“It was a restaurant where Roma people could work. They would have failed to find employment, had we not set an example to the public that Roma can work. They are hard-working people, they can be transparent, and they can open their own businesses. Our restaurant was one of those stepping stones,” Kvik said.

The survey showed that people react differently to Roma adults and children.

According to Eurobarometer, 84 percent said they would feel fully or partly satisfied if their children had Roma classmates, a question that was not asked in the 2019 survey.

In addition, 78 percent agreed that children should be taught about Roma culture and history.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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