Lithuania, a former Soviet Republic, has a problem with homophobia. Within the Baltic state, anti-gay attitudes are widespread and pervasive. Therefore, that popular House producer Ten Walls (Marijus Adomaitis) went off on a tirade agaisnt gay people on his Facebook account, comparing homosexuality to pedophilia, is, unfortunately, not much of a surprise. What was incredible, however, was Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė's response.
In the post, Ten Walls called gay people a "different breed," saying:
“One of my first gigs in Ireland, on my way to [my] hotel I saw a church with a fence decorated with hundreds of baby shoes. Naturally I wondered why? Unfortunately a priest’s lie for many years was uncovered when children were massively raped. Unfortunately the people of other breed continue to do it and everyone knows it but does nothing.”
In response, President Grybauskaitė called out the musician, saying that his ignorance exemplifies the problem Lithuania has with homophobia. She went on to say:
"I believe the incident benefits the state in a way that, in this country, we are becoming more and more open in our discussions about how insular we are, our intolerance of people who are different, as well as homophobia." “I believe discussions are a healthy thing, we need more of them, as the sooner Lithuania becomes more open and more tolerant, the better it will be for the country.”
Attitudes do appear to be changing in the region, despite rising intolerance in neighboring Russia. Late last year, a government minister in Latvia (to the north) came out as gay, and the performance of this year's Luthaunian entry to the Eurovision Song Contest included a number of same-sex kisses.