Brussels names street after transgender cyclist Willy De Bruyn
Thursday, 04 July 2019
The end of Green Alley in Brussels between Gare du Nord and Tour & Taxis, will be renamed Friday after Belgian cyclist Willy De Bruyn, born Elvira.
Willy De Bruyn (1914-1989) was born “intersexual”, i.e. with a combination of male and female biological traits. Elvira was registered by his parents as a girl. At the age of 15, De Bruyn participated for the first time in a cycling race for girls, and won with seven minutes ahead, before becoming female world champion cyclist in 1934 and 1936.
In 1936, Elvira was more interested in her identity, and was at last recognized as a man on 24 March 1937 after a name change.
De Bruyn and his wife ran the Denderleeuw Café in north Brussels for many years.
“Public space is a reflection of our collective history. We dedicate street names in honour of those who marked society,” deputy mayor in urban planning Ans Persoons (Change.Brussels) said. “De Bruyn and his fight for recognition of transgender people is among those whose story should be told. It is also a way to support the fight against discrimination.”