A current of hostility to gays and other minorities undercuts the country’s efforts to burnish its image as it takes the EU helm.
Linas Jegelevicius, Transitions Online 26 April 2013
With hundreds of concerts under his belt, some in the Lithuanian hinterlands shunned by other pop musicians, Ruslanas Kirilkinas has seen it all: tears, smiles, grins, hugs, kisses, and other signs of encouragement for the crooner’s heart-rending encores.
The 29-year-old singer concedes that sometimes, in some of those dimly lit, mildew-smelling, Soviet-inspired rural concert halls, he has also seen fans smirk as they struggle to digest the fact that Kirilkinas is gay.
Having publicly announced that fact seven years ago, Kirilkinas remains the only openly gay Lithuanian pop star. And he is one of very few “out” gays in any sphere in a country regarded as one of the most conservative in Europe.
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Is Lithuania Tolerant Enough to Lead Europe?