Belgian Pride Festival
The Belgian Pride Festival is more than the famous Pride Parade. On Friday the 3rd of May, the official kick-off was given to the festival in the Brussels Town Hall. A varied posted presenting debates, movies, concerts the Ihsane Jarfi day and finally the Pride Parade, successfully attracted thousands of LGBTI+ people and friends. “During the day of the Pride Parade, more than 100000 visitors were counted”, says coordinator Elio De Bolle.
“When 100000 assemble in the streets, this carries out a strong militant statement. ‘Normality’, that still rules in our society, is being challenged and a strong signal is given to policymakers: there is still work to be done. It is not because the white, middleclass, homosexual man is doing well that other groups inside the LGBTI+ community can count on the acceptance they deserve.” says President of The Belgian Pride Cyrille Prestianni.
Putting the theme of the year in the spotlights was one of the most important objectives, and The Belgian Pride succeeded, according to Cyrille Prestianni. “We want to convey a clear and inclusive message: with solidarity and intersectionality as baselines, we want to emphasize that everyone is unique and deserves their place in society without discrimination, no matter the reason. Let us stand up for each other and for the people who still face discrimination and exclusion every day.”
All colors of the rainbow on wagons, Pride Village, Rainbow Village and Pride Stage
After the Pride Parade Kick-Off, where the theme All for One! was explained, all attendees were asked to stand up for everyone who still faces discrimination and exclusion every day. This appeal was symbolically endorsed by handing over the rainbow flag to the participants of the Pride Parade during the performance of Cesár Sampson (Eurovision Song Contest 2018 candidate). The Parade, led by the big rainbow flag, departed together with more than 80 delegations from all over Belgium through Brussels. Alongside the route, thousands of spectators and supporters marched in and with the parade.
A small group of participants protested against the presence of certain delegations during the Pride Parade.
“Every year, the organization of the Belgian Pride is a work of blood, sweat and tears. Thanks to numerous volunteers and partners, we made this edition a great success this year. Looking back: with the RainbowCity.Brussels project, we immersed several buildings and places in the Brussels region in rainbow colors and called citizens to hang out the rainbow flag. With Recollecting Our History, including 12 important historical points, we present the history of the LGBTI+ and Pride-movement to our visitors. In order to understand the present and the future, we need to have knowledge about our history. We already invite everyone for our 25th edition next year, that will take place in the weekend of May 23rd, 2020. It will be a groundbreaking birthday edition”, says Belgian Pride Coordinator Elio De Bolle.
The Pride Village in the Mont des Arts and the Rainbow Village in the Quartier Saint-Jean attracted once again numerous interested people. More than 45 organizations and associations presented their operation: the ideal opportunity for organizations to connect with their target audience and to tell their story. This is what the Belgian Pride stands for: a big militant gathering and a celebration with different organizations respecting each other’s message.
Just as the events in the Rainbow Village, the performances on the Pride Stage at the Mont des Arts will continue until midnight with DJ-sets of Zoey Hasselbank and Jennifer Cooke amongst others. After the closing of the main stage, participants and fans of the Belgian Pride will most probably dive into the Brussels nightlife.
Pictures: Walter Vermeylen & Mark Cuvelier