Marija Aušrinė Pavilionienė

Activist Type

Marija Aušrinė Pavilionienė is a politician, educator, feminist writer, and one of the most well-known Lithuanian advocates for LGBT rights. Pavilionienė co-founded the Gender Studies Centre at her alma mater, Vilnius State University, before receiving her PhD in Philology from Taras Shevchenko National University. She has since authored many published works regarding gender and inequality. Despite “same-sex sexual activity” being made legal in Lithuania in 1993, just two years after the fall of the Soviet Union, homophobia is still openly practiced and generally accepted throughout the country. Same-sex unions remain unrecognized by the state, and efforts to change the law face vehement and widespread opposition. Beginning in 2004 through 2016, Marija served multiple terms as a member of Lithuania’s governing body known as the Seimas, where she acted as chairperson of the Ad Hoc Group of Seimas Members for Equality. Pavilionienė’s advocacy and her actions in the Seimas have been instrumental in upholding anti-discrimination laws and protections for the LGBTQ+ community of Lithuania in the face of great struggle.

Artwork by
Hanjoon Kim

This portrait of Marija Aušrinė Pavilionienė is inspired by Lithuanian paper cutting, which is also known as Karpiniai and has been a common art form since the 16th century. A symmetrical blooming tree is one of the most represented motifs in Lithuania. Cutting the national plant of Lithuania out on the back of Pavilionienė’s portrait helps to represent the Lithuanian people for whom she fights.


Lithuania Flag
February 16, 1918
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