Proud mother of LGBT+ child confronts Lithuanian president: ‘My heart is in pain’

The president of Lithuania met with a mother concerned for her LGBT+ child’s future, and the future of every other child like them.

Gitanas Nausėda, president of Lithuania, has been vocal about his belief in what he calls traditional family values. He has rallied against what he termed “genderist propaganda” and has said that family is between a man and a woman.

“As a president of the Lithuanian Republic, I will use my powers to make sure it is so,” he said at a rally in May.

Rasa Račienė is a mother and a medical doctor, and last week penned an open letter to the president expressing her concern for her child’s welfare as a member of the LGBT+ community in Lithuania.

In the letter she asked that Nausėda and his fellow party members “use rhetoric that unites, rather than divides Lithuania”. Račienė also said that she hears abusive remarks about LGBT+ people on a daily basis in her locality.

“My heart is in pain because all these words are about my child,” she wrote. “Every day, I worry that something may happen to my child, that all the bullying and hate in the public space will destroy my child emotionally and break him. Believe me, it is unbearable, it is humiliating and it hurts me to the core.”

Račienė encouraged the president to consult with members of the LGBT+ community and NGOs which fight for the rights of the community as opposed to “third parties” such as the Catholic Church.

The letter went on to ask for the president’s “personal promise” that the country will soon enjoy respectful civil partnership laws. A vote to debate a same-sex partnership bill in May lost in parliament by several votes.

Nausėda appeared to responded to the letter with a cautiously open mind, telling reporters: “I am ready to talk; I am ready to listen.”

However he did go on to express concern for what he referred to as “the persecution” of people who hold anti-LGBT+ views.

“When the mother speaks about bullying, about threats, we all face this phenomenon today, regardless of sexual orientation. There is clearly too much confrontation in Lithuania today,” Nausėda said.

“It will be really interesting for me to talk with her about her views on the persecution of other groups in society for thinking differently than this group.”

The meeting between Račienė and Nausėda took place Monday (25 October). An advisor to the president said that “a very sensitive conversation took place between the two parents”, Žmonė reported.

Račienė told reporters that she felt heard by the president.

“I understand that the president is not only the head of the country – he is also a man,” she said. She felt that she was heard “as a mother”, saying that their conversation was detailed.