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16th PrideFestival to start in Brussels on Saturday

Credit: Belga

The 16th PrideFestival will have the theme #WeCare and will run from 12 to 26 September, RainbowHouse Brussels announced on Tuesday.

Originally scheduled from 5 to 24 May, the festival was postponed due to the coronavirus crisis.

This edition will offer 26 events including 4 documentaries, 2 plays and other shows, conferences and artistic performances.

The programme has been halved and the mass and festive events as well as the marches have been cancelled.

This is the case of the mini Pride at the opening and the Belgian Pride usually organised at the end of the festival by the 3 LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex and Others) umbrella organisations of the country, including the RainbowHouse which focuses on the political content of the event.

Health regulations to limit the spread of Covid-19 will apply. The events will be accessible by reservation and volunteers will ensure the correct wearing of masks and hand disinfection.

To compensate for seating limitations, events will be broadcast online, potentially extending the audience to people who do not normally attend these types of events.

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Oumayma Hammadi, spokesperson for RainbowHouse Brussels, emphasised that “PrideFestival is not just an entertainment festival. It is first and foremost a political event about the rights of LGBTQI+ people.”

“The #WeCare, the theme of health, was chosen before the pandemic was announced, but during the crisis we saw how religious, extremists and certain politicians used the issue to hit the LGBT community,” she said.

“For this 16th edition, we want to underline that the health of LGBT people is often minimised: mental health problems caused by homophobia and transphobia, access to healthcare and the demand for free transition care for trans people,” she gave as an example.

They also want to underline “the lack of information on lesbian sexuality and their exposure to sexually transmitted diseases among health professionals, the demand to abolish the waiting period of 3 to 5 years to be recognised as chronically ill with AIDS and to benefit from the third party payment, and other very specific demands.”

The festival will open with the exhibition Backstages by the artist Deborah Gigliotti, which reveals the backstage of Brussels’ burlesque, transformist and drag cabarets.

Marc Martin will also be exhibiting male encounters around public toilets and a conference will explore lesbian spaces. The closing party will be replaced by a cabaret evening at the Espace LaVallée.

The organisers are still working on setting up a so-called Rainbow Caravan by the end of September to engage in dialogue with the people of Brussels in the various municipalities of the Region.

The Brussels Times

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