Vandals spray painted “I like young boys” and “pedophile” on the façade of a house where a gay couple lives in Leuven.
“The police have been on the scene and made the findings,” police spokesman Mathieu Caudron told HLN. “We take these facts very seriously and an official report has been drawn up. We are now going to investigate everything further and trace the perpetrators.”
The messages, written in English on the front door and one of the outside walls of the house, come less than a week after the brutal murder of a gay man in Belgium in a park outside of Antwerp, where he was lured by three teenagers who made a fake profile on the gay dating app Grindr.
The news breaks on the same day that the European Parliament declared the EU an “LGBTIQ Freedom Zone”, mostly in response to increasingly visible homophobia in Eastern Europe.
“I think this is terrible. You would think the gay haters would crawl back under their rock after the horrific facts of the past weekend, but unfortunately that is not the case,” Flemish MP Lorin Parys told HLN. “We need to stand up against the idiotic beliefs and get rid of them as soon as possible. These facts can be life-threatening and strict action must be taken.”
Lies Corneillie, the Alderman for Equal Opportunities in Leuven, said that they would be consulting with the LGBTQ organisation UniQue in order to determine what actions can be taken to support and protect the LGBTQ community.
“We condemn this kind of hateful action,” Corneillie said. “We take these facts very seriously. Incidents like this rightly provoke a lot of indignation. In Leuven, we do everything possible to support the LGBT community. Everyone should be able to be themselves and get equal opportunities.”
The Flemish Minister for Society Bart Somers has already announced his intent to take additional measures in the fight against homophobia by increasing awareness of existing hotlines, creating ‘safe spaces,’ and setting up an LGBTQ policy advisory group.