IDAHOT: Belgian government buildings in rainbow colours against homophobia

IDAHOT: Belgian government buildings in rainbow colours against homophobia
Credit: Cabinet of Prime Minister Alexander De Croo

On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) today, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo’s office at Rue de la Loi 16 will be one of the buildings in Brussels lit up in the rainbow colours.

Every year in May, Brussels adorns itself with rainbow colours, but due to the coronavirus crisis, the colours will only take the form of flags and projections, and not be accompanied by a big Pride parade.

“Love is love. In our country, everyone should be able to be themselves, whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity,” De Croo said, adding that the rainbow colours are a “powerful symbol” for that diversity.

“We are not all the same. We do not all think the same. But we are all people with the same basic rights,” he added. “In our country, there is no room for discrimination because of who you are, what your origin is or who you love. We are giving that message an extra push this month.”

For the first time this year, the Egmont Palace in Brussels’ Sablon area, which currently houses Belgium’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, will also be illuminated in the colours of the rainbow flag.

“This is our way of showing our commitment, with the Belgian foreign policy, to diversity and equality for all, without discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual identity or sexual orientation,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Sophie Wilmès.

“This freedom to be and to love whoever one wishes must be universal and we are working on it,” she said.

In recent decades, protection for LGBTQ people has steadily expanded, but Wilmès stressed that they continue to face severe forms of discrimination, harassment, violence and death threats in numerous places around the world.

Despite what she called Belgium’s “pioneering role” in the fight against discrimination against LGBTQ people in the world, a gay man (42) was found murdered in a park outside of Antwerp in March, where he was lured by three teenagers who made a fake profile on the gay dating app Grindr.

Continued attention to legal and policy reforms remains necessary to pursue equal treatment and protection for all LGBTQ people, stressed Wilmès.

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