Not many countries celebrate the Pride festival with so much pride as the Belgium does. It simply reflects the way we care for equal rights for everybody. The 20th anniversary of Pride.be is here. From today i.e. 1 to 17 May, the colours of the rainbow will take over the centre of Brussels. In addition to the three days of public festivities and the annual parade, there is also a vast and varied programme to be discovered at the two-week PrideFestival. All over Belgium, festivities and initiatives by citizens, intellectuals and activists will take place in the name of conviviality and the fight for equality.
Although atmosphere and enjoyment are the key words at Pride.be in Brussels, it remains an opportunity to demand freedom and tolerance. And Pride.be is much more than the three days of public festivities, held on 14, 15 and 16 May. The day after the opening of Mini-Pride in the presence of Jean-Paul Gaultier on 30 April, a two-week program of activities will begin, with conferences, debates, various festivals, and film showings.
Here is a brief look at some of the activities organised over the two weeks the PrideFestival is to be held.
On 1 May, the PrideFestival will unveil Belgium’s first permanent giant urban mural, measuring 40 metres long, with an LGBT theme. This street-art display is signed by three European artists, including Ralf König, an icon in the LGBT comic world. The aim of this piece of art is to give visibility to the community in a public setting. The mural uses humour, satire and simplicity to highlight the day-to-day life of the LGBT community.
2 May – 9 pm – Launch of the All Genders Welcome campaign
The police of Brussels-Ixelles as well as staff from various communes have come together to launch a campaign which marks the coming out of the Brussels Capital Region! The message of the visual campaign is one of tolerance: everybody has the right to live and express their gender identity and sexual orientation. In it, we will see two policemen kissing, transgender couples getting married at the City Hall, and builders walking hand-in-hand to their van.
At this debate, Marjan Lens, founder of the feminist bookshop Artemys in Brussels, will discuss the lesbian struggle for LGBTQI rights. Who were the pioneers? How did they organise their activities, and what is the path that has led them to today? Aided by the documentary “les invisibles” (in French), Marjan Lens will approach the subject drawing on her own experiences and her involvement in the lesbian cause.
6 May – 6:30 pm – Youth@Pride
The Youth@Pride project is organised in collaboration with Wel Jong Niet Hetero, Cheff and the Brusselse Jeugdhuizen. The event gives young people the opportunity to get acquainted with the LGBT community in a more accessible and open way. A showing of the film “Pride” (2014) at UGC De Brouckère will be followed by an open discussion.
This taboo breaking festival is now in its third year. The programme includes films, concerts, exhibitions and gatherings, all based on the theme of homosexuality in Africa and the African diaspora.
12 May – 6 pm – Open reception at the Brussels Parliament
After a public reception at the Brussels parliament, the rainbow flag will fly over Rue du Lombard.