After taking part in the Pride parade in the centre of Brussels on Saturday, a transgender 13-year-old boy and his family were attacked by a group of young people. Three suspects have been arrested by the police in relation to the incident.
The family — the boy, his sister and their mother — joined the parade in support of the young boy, who is transgender and gay, and later returned with their rainbow flags to where they parked their car in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. Here, they were attacked by a group of young men.
"All of a sudden, bottles were being thrown at us by three young men on the pavement in front of us, telling us that there is no place for fags here and that we are just a bunch of fat whores," the sister of the boy, Larisa, said in an Instagram post on her account.
She added that they later turned violent and started punching her and her mother.
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"I don’t know how it happened, but a herd of 20 men formed around us and they threatened us, because, once again, apparently there is no place for LGBT people here," she wrote. The men used the boy's rainbow flags to create burns on his skin and later punched the mother in her face.
This incident was confirmed by Sarah Durant of the Brussels Public Prosecutor's Office on Tuesday. "Around 20:00 on Sunday evening, the police were called to the scene for evidence of beatings and injuries," she told The Brussels Times.
"The victims state that they were approached and insulted by these youths because they were wearing a necklace with rainbow coloured flowers. Three suspects were arrested immediately after the incident," she added.
Before the police arrived on the scene, local women protected the family by creating a human circle around them, according to Larisa's Instagram post.
The arrested suspects have been handed over to the Brussels Public Prosecutor, who will proceed to question them and order additional investigative actions.
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"The investigation is continuing in order to establish the involvement of the suspects and to shed light on the exact circumstances of the events," Durant concluded.
Larisa stated on Instagram that she wanted to share her story to denounce the aggressors. "It’s one thing for you to have different beliefs, values and ethics, but you don’t pick on women and children because they don’t fit into your boxes."
Last week, it was announced a bill was introduced to include gender identity and gender expression as “discriminatory motives” in all criminal offences, in addition to the previously included gender, sexual orientation or gender reassignment, meaning such incidents can be more heavily punished.