Flemish municipalities fly rainbow flag for IDAHOBIT 2023

The rainbow flag is flying in all Flemish municipalities on Wednesday to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. This is the fifth year in a row that Flemish municipalities have committed to raising the rainbow flag, as a sign against discrimination and hatred.

102 out of 300 Flemish municipalities have also applied for a rainbow zebra crossing. "This way, we give a clear sign in the streets that discrimination, intimidation and violence, on whatever ground, will not be tolerated," said Flemish minister for Mobility Lydia Peeters.

Additionally, more than 300 schools and associations from Flanders and Brussels decorated their buildings in purple on Wednesday. They also encouraged pupils to dress in purple, the colour that symbolises the LGBTQI+ community.

Discrimination on the rise

These symbolic actions are still important, says çavaria, the umbrella organisation of Flemish LGBTI+ associations. Despite existing legislation around equal rights, LGBTI+ people still experience discrimination.

For example, a recent study by UZ Gent and the Transgender Infopunt showed that 93 per cent of LGBTI+ people had experienced verbal violence in the past two years. During the same period, 37 per cent were victims of physical violence.

Unia, the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities, dealt with 24 hate crimes involving physical violence against LGBTQI+ people in 2022. This is the highest number in five years, it said.



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