Every year, Brussels Pride is organised on the Saturday closest to May 17, to mark the importance of fighting homophobia, biphobia and transphobia even in contexts which might appear supportive of sexual and gender diversity.
This year, the event, labelled ‘PRIDE4every1″ gathered a 100,000-strong crowd, making it the biggest Belgium Pride march ever, and also the biggest single IDAHOT event this year.
In the Francophone provinces, IDAHOT has been marked for many years now with education campaigns for diversity, lead by regional educational authorities and the umbrella LGBT federation Arc en Ciel Wallonie.
The organisation Alliage had sent the 84 municipalities of the province rainbow flags to be raised on May 17 in a invitation to “show that the municipality is rich of its diversities and proud of them”. 33 of the 84 municipalities raised the flag. More information and details, including a map of the participating counties, can be accessed on the site of the organisation Alliage and a photo album has been set up on Facebook.
In the Flemish provinces, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia saw an unprecedented level of participation. Reporting from the Çavaria LGBT federation:
259 municipalities in Flanders and Brussels participated out of 327 (79%). Also, all the districts of the city of Antwerp participated as well as all the Flemish provinces. Besides flying the rainbow flag a lot of municipalities organized events for IDAHOT, had articles about it in their info magazines, and so on.
Our goal was to make lgbt issues visible from the biggest cities to the smallest villages. The physical presence of the rainbow flag at city halls, public libraries and other public buildings sent out the message that the local government is an ally for lgbt rights. However, the action was not only symbolic. We (or our member organizations) contacted every municipality in Flanders and Brussels, thus opening a channel for dialogue. Some municipalities that didn’t participate are open to working with us on lgbt inclusiveness.
You can find the most recent article (in Dutch) and photos here.
On IDAHOT and the Belgian Pride we also had a campaign about tackling homophobia in sports called Sports4Every1. 11 famous Belgian sportspeople spoke out against homophobia. You can find the pictures and videos they made here . The campaign was commissioned by the Department of Equal Opportunities of the Flemish Government.
Additionally, the Belgian organisation Inderdaad will be organising a small action on Sunday 17th of May, in the city of Hasselt (Belgium). On the ‘Van Veldeke’ square, they will place a pop-up photo studio, where people can get a photo with a personal message to support LGBT people. Members of the organisation will encourage people on the street to visit the photo studio, and provide more information about the day and LGBT issues. Pictures will be printed immediately and will form a big ‘wall of support’. Also, the picture will be uploaded on their page afterwards. Inderdaad is a organisation for Youth under 30 in the region of Limburg, Belgium. Find more info about them on their website.