Inclusive and Safe Environment for LGBTI+ in Lithuanian Universities? Reflecting Realities and Challenges
This paper discusses the results of the international applied research project ‘UniDiversity – Universities Towards Diversity’ that examined what discriminatory attitudes, beliefs and behaviours based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics (SOGISC) exist in the Lithuanian, Greek and Italian academic environment. Specifically, this paper analyses how LGBTI+ individuals conceive of different forms of discrimination in the Lithuanian academic environment. The paper fills the knowledge gap in terms of intolerance and discrimination against LGBTI+ individuals at Lithuanian higher education institutions and provides its theoretical explanation. By focusing on the empirical data collected from survey and focus group interviews, the paper interprets them within the framework of both the sociopolitical context and theoretical debates about heteronormative attitudes. The paper argues that there exists a gap between the declarative openness to LGBTI+ people within Lithuanian universities and persisting stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes towards them.