“The Europride is also a political and activist event”, said Frank Schoenmakers of RainbowHouse on Thursday evening. The statement was made on the sidelines of the presentation at the Belgian embassy in Madrid and was a reference to the candidacy of Brussels for the organisation of the “Europride 2020 event”. If the Belgian capital is awarded the event, it would be a first for the city, which will celebrate the 25th edition of the Belgian Pride event in 2020. This yearly event attracted more than 50,000 people from all over the world last year. The anniversary that took place in 2020 was the beginning of the Brussels candidacy for the organisation of the European parade according to Frank Schoenmakers.
However, the ambitions of such an event go far beyond the festive aspect, he underlines. “People always think about festivities, which is obviously one of the main activities, but for us the Europride is also a political and activist event. We want to spread something and convey a message, both at the regional and at the ‘European’ levels where there is ‘work to be done in terms of discrimination’.
In Brussels, Bianca Debaets (CD&V), the Secretary of State for the Brussels Region in charge of Equal Opportunities, highlighted the diversity that prevails in Brussels and the role that Belgium has taken in supporting the rights of the LGBT community. “In Brussels, LGBT people feel they can be themselves”, said Bianca Debaets. “Belgium, and certainly Brussels, have always played a leading role on a global scale. We were among the first countries to approve homosexual marriage and recently the very important decision has been taken that transgenders no longer have to undergo complicated medical procedures”.
However, Bianca Debaets indicates that she is aware that work remains to be done, for example in the streets of Brussels, where the looks that LGBT people get are not always friendly.