The physical Belgian Pride parade will once again be replaced by a digital version of the event in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organisers announced on Tuesday.
Its traditional procession through the centre of Brussels will be replaced by a live broadcast from the Grand-Place in Brussels on Saturday 22 May, from 2:00 PM with music, interviews, DJ sets and testimonies from people in the community.
"The physical Pride Parade will not take place, but we will do everything in our power to maximise community spirit and visibility under the theme 'We Care'," said Belgian Pride president Laurent Mallet.
The “We Care” theme for the 2021 edition aims to highlight not only the physical but also the mental and social health of the LGTBQI+ community.
"Young and old single LGBTQI+ people have a particularly hard time in a period where meeting physically is not possible,” said Rachael Moore, coordinator of Belgian Pride.
"Visibility is needed even more, but this needs to be accompanied by additional support for, for example, hotlines in case of LGBTQI+ phobic incidents at organisations, free psychological sessions by specialists and better training for public service staff,” added Moore.
The organisation also stressed that "in a year when a homophobic murder took place in Beveren, taking care of each other is more important than ever.”
Belgian Pride has called on people to cover their pavements in rainbow colours with pavement chalk as part of Pride month in Belgium to ensure visibility for the cause beyond the digital element.
Despite seeing the advantages of a digital version, especially in terms of accessibility, Belgian Pride hopes to have a physical parade again in 2022. “In the coming years, we will combine online and physical events," said the organisation.
The Brussels Times