Brussels kicks off European Pride season
Pride Week in Brussels officially began on Wednesday evening. In the next 10 days, many events will be organised by and for the LGBTQIA+ community in the lead-up to the Belgian Pride Parade on Sunday 20 May. It also marked the start of the European Pride season, which mainly takes place during June, July and August.
Pride Week kicked off with a ceremony at the Brussels City Hall on Wednesday evening. After the closed reception, a rainbow flag was carried through the streets of Brussels and the Manneken Pis statue was dressed up in a Pride costume, designed by French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Protect the Protest
This year's Brussels Pride – dubbed Belgian and European Pride – is centred on the Protect the Protest theme, referencing an Amnesty International campaign by the same name, and the roots of Pride as a protest movement for the rights of people of marginalised sexual and gender identities. "It is a call to defend the fundamental right to protest, in Belgium, Europe and the rest of the world."
The aim is to provide a platform for advocacy and give LGBTQIA+ people the opportunity to make their voices heard, celebrate diversity, raise awareness of the issues the community is still facing, promote equal rights for all, and bring the community together to create a space where everyone can feel safe, supported and connected.
"It is a call to defend the fundamental right to protest, in Belgium, Europe and the rest of the world"
Pride Week events include film Eurovision screenings, exhibitions, conferences, guided tours, workshops and parties, as well as sports events like a run and a roller derby match. Check out the agenda here.
This year, the Brussels Pride Parade will take place on three different stages in the city: one at Mont des Arts, one at Place de la Bourse and one at Place de Brouckere. Organisers expect around 150,000 people to take part in the events.
© ALLISON DINNER / AFP