Belgian Pride: Ten days of LGBTQ events kick off in Brussels today

Belgian Pride: Ten days of LGBTQ events kick off in Brussels today
Credit: Belga / Nicolas Maeterlinck

Wednesday marks the start of 'Pride Week' in Brussels, which brings ten days of events celebrating the LGBTQ community in the lead-up to the Belgian Pride Parade which will take place on Sunday 20 May.

Pride Week will kick off with a ceremony at the Brussels City Hall on Wednesday evening. After the closed reception, a rainbow flag will be carried through the streets of Brussels, passing by the Manneken Pis statue which will be dressed "in its Pride costume." According to the city hall website, the statue's costume was made by French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier this year.

Wednesday's march will end at RainbowHouse Brussels, the umbrella organisation for LGBTQ groups in the city.

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."

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The aim is to provide a platform for advocacy and give LGBTQ 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.

Pride Week events include film (and Eurovision semi-finals) 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 is being expanded and 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 some 150,000 people to take part in the events.

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