Baltic Pride 2013: Who needed it? Opinion

Published: July 29, 2013

Mark Splinter | The Lithuania Tribune, Special thanks to Martynas Ambrazas for the photos.

After months of apocalyptic predictions, flawed legal arguments and hateful outbursts which nobody would want their child to hear, a second gay parade finally happened in Vilnius.

I spent hours arguing about it with friends and enemies, dealing with a never-ending stream of insults on facebook and trying to convince as many people as possible to ignore the haters and go to the parade. The organisers were working night and day to create a positive event. So, I was literally filled with pride when I arrived in Gedimino Prospektas and saw hundreds of happy people forming up, unafraid and unashamed to walk in the centre of town under a rainbow flag. I had my “Lietuva visiems” (Lithuania for everybody) placard, someone gave me a whistle, and I stood waiting impatiently for the start of the march with friends from the Liberal Movement party and my fellow immigrant Richard Schofield.

Looking at the parade, I was filled with pride, but not because I am gay. I am not gay. That wasn’t the point. I was filled with pride for Vilnius, my adopted hometown, where I sincerely believe that the future is bright and the potential exists to make the best little city in Europe.

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