Once a month, in this small apartment painted a vivid yellow, members of Lithuania’s gay community come together to exchange ideas in safety and privacy.

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‘No one wants to engage themselves ideologically.’ Because in this ‘narrow-minded’ country, news travels fast.

Too fast for certain tastes; and not fast enough for others.

Translation: time to come out of the closet.‘There is a lack of solidarity in the gay community, and too many differences of opinion between the major groups defending sexual minorities,’ points out Mindaugas.

As a consequence, the interests of gays are badly or insufficiently represented.

There is a saying that claims that Lithuanians only trust in the president, the church and the press.

In matters of sexuality, the influence of the last two has proved itself to be at least as harmful as that of politicians.

The icing on the cake: in 2007 the EU awarded the country a budget of 150, 000 euros for a series of projects called ‘Equal’, aimed at helping minority integration. ‘Our politicians didn’t dare to say anything negative about homosexuality for fear of compromising the process of integration into the EU,’ adds Vladimir Simonko, one of the founders of the LLGL.

‘But once we were a member of the club, no one hesitated to preach a return to traditional values.’ An ambivalence tinted with hypocrisy, as illustrated by a recent survey conducted by the daily paper – the Lithuanian parliament – 100 consider homosexuality to be a ‘perversion.’ ‘Tolerate homosexuality? ’ Conservative deputy Kazys Bobelis went so far as to declare.

‘In Lithuania, gays are used to keeping quiet,’ says Virginija, 25 years old, a lesbian and LLGL militant.