Transgender Day of Remembrance: PM visits exhibition 'Homosexuals and Lesbians in Nazi Europe'
On the occasion of Transgender Day of Remembrance, prime minister Alexander De Croo and secretary of state for Equal Opportunities, Gender Equality and Diversity Marie-Colline Leroy visited the Homosexuals and Lesbians in Nazi Europe exhibition at Kazerne Dossin in Mechelen.
The exhibition at the Kazerne Dossin Holocaust memorial centre shows how homosexuality was treated during the Nazi regime. At least 100,000 records of persecuted homosexuals are known, of whom 50,000 were convicted. Some of them ended up in concentration camps and did not survive.
"Our country has a long tradition of tolerance towards homosexuality"
"There are always reasons to visit Kazerne Dossin, but today it's about this: love is love. Our country has a long tradition of tolerance towards homosexuality; it has never been a crime here," said De Croo
"Opinions in our country are very diverse, often making things more complex. Diversity makes us stronger. It's a strength we Belgians have," he said. "Society is strong when we understand each other, but unfortunately, we often see that the differences are reinforced."
He said Belgium that while Belgium had always been a pioneer when it comes to homosexuality, it has never been a guaranteed right. "Each generation must continue to fight for these rights. Homosexuality is not a choice, but homophobia is".
"Not only Jews and Roma but also homosexuals were targets of the Nazi regime"
"The terrible fate of these people in the Second World War is still not widely known," said Leroy. "Not only Jews and Roma but also homosexuals were targets of the Nazi regime. The exhibition is a reminder of the barbarity of that time. Even today, human rights are under pressure in some European countries; we must remain vigilant and defend our rights."
Transgender Day of Remembrance is held each year on 20 November to commemorate the hundreds of people murdered as a result of transphobia and to raise awareness of violence against transgender people. The initiative has gained significant support, with 185 cities in more than 20 countries participating in events to mark the occasion.
The exhibition runs until 12 December.
© BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE