Target: Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs of Latvia
Goal: Applaud public ‘coming out’ to advocate for LGBT rights in Latvia
The fight for LGBT rights in eastern Europe has taken a huge step forward as Latvia’s Foreign Minister, Edgars Rinkēvičs, took to Twitter recently to publicly announce that he is gay. The 41-year-old politician and current Minister for Foreign Affairs declared his homosexuality in an effort to shatter homophobic stigma and proclaim Latvia as the next country to rectify legislation that discriminates against LGBT people.
The news caused plenty of uproar within the former Soviet republic and in the region, as the country shares a border with the vehemently anti-gay Russia, and has a large anti-gay conviction. Social conservatives and pro-Russian activists alike are seeking to enact a Russian-style ‘homosexual propaganda’ ban to prosecute Rinkēvičs for ‘spreading homosexual beliefs.’ But, the foreign minister boldly challenged opposition by stating that the country will soon ‘…create a legal status for all kinds of partner relationships…,’ telling The Washington Post that he ‘…will fight for this.”
Latvia is one of the few European countries to still have a ban on same-sex marriage, in effect since 2005, and hostility towards homosexuality generally remains strong. Similar bans also exist in other countries in the region, including Lithuania and Belarus. Rinkēvičs explained that his decision to come out was partly motivated by recent discussions around the possible legalization of same-sex partnerships in Latvia, and while he’s never publicly announced his sexual orientation, he has not made efforts to conceal his homosexuality either.
Rinkēvičs’ announcement, given eastern Europe’s homophobic climate, is proof that attitudes surrounding the LGBT community are quickly changing for the better, and that more ‘out’ politicians means exponential political progress.
Sign the petition to applaud Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs’ brave public coming out, and support LGBT rights in Europe.
Dear Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs,
In a climate rife with LGBT opposition, you’ve shattered homophobic stigma and berated ignorance by announcing that you are a gay politician. This progressive and courageous effort means that countless LGBT Latvians can breathe easier knowing that they will no longer be treated like second-class citizens, but respected as members of Latvia’s society.
LGBT rights have transformed from a Western issue to a global one, as the world learns just how callous and prejudiced politicians and society have been towards the LGBT population. As an LGBT activist and supporter I applaud your decision to publicly come out and declare Latvia as the next country to promote laws that are inclusive of LGBT people.
As we move forward in the fight for global acceptance of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered individuals and everyone in between, I thank you wholeheartedly for your gallantry and can’t wait to hear of Latvia’s pro-LGBT progress in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Edgars2007 via Wikimedia Commons