The city of Antwerp has banned its civil servants from wearing a rainbow pin in support of the LGBTQI+ community for “neutrality” reasons, according to reports of a message sent to staff as June, or international LGBTQI+ Pride Month, draws to a close.
“The administrative agreement puts the neutrality of our services first,” a message addressed to the civil servants of Antwerp read, regarding the wear of an LGBTQI+ rainbow pin to work.
“Are you in direct contact with citizens in your role as a city employee? Then you cannot wear the pin during working hours. Of course, you may wear the pin outside working hours. Do you work in a back-office position? Then you may also wear the pin during working hours,” the statement continued.
City councillor for the socialist sp.a party, Hicham El Mzairh, referred to the decision as “regrettable”, according to Belgian media.
However, El Mzairh, raised issue with the decision, countering that “a government exudes its neutrality by including all aspects of diversity.”
“By not allowing diversity, the government is absolving itself of an important task, namely to take the lead and to normalise diversity,”El Mzairh added.
The Brussels Times