Queer Pride Gent is an initiative of Kris Vannevel and Martin Zebracki (#LHBTMonumentGent), LGBT youth organisation Verkeerd Geparkeerd and folks from Queer It Up. It has been provisionally taken under the wings of umbrella organisation Casa Rosa. “People from all walks of life joined in during the first few months (and still are)”, Vannevel and Zebracki write.
Alternative to mainstream
The first ever Queer Pride Gent will take place on Saturday 11 May 2019. “The Kammerstraat area will get ready for, and transform itself into, a safe haven for all LGBTQ+ people and their sympathisers. Queer Pride Gent is rooted in the spirit of inclusivity, acceptation and appreciation of any sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.”
“Anyone is welcome at Queer Pride Gent, which is therefore an open invite for participation in one or more of the diverse, alternative activities it has in store, including workshops, a Queer Fair, performances, debates, a family day, and the further fulfilment of a LGBTQ+ monument by #LHBTMonumntGent and allies. This all will be topped off by a closing party.”
“Unlike many commercially and institutionally driven pride events in urban capitals, Queer Pride Gent departs from critical community engagement and aims to strike an alternative note.”
“Prejudice, ignorance and aggression often originate from a lack of knowledge and progressive insight. Not being able to put oneself in someone else’s shoes is a pity, yet the unwillingness to understand the other is a disgrace.”
“That is why Queer Pride Gent wants to bring people together from all walks of life and provide them with the opportunity to look deeply into each other’s eyes. Queer Pride Gent is a peaceful protest against social norms, institutions and structures that oppress sexual, social and cultural diversity and freedom.”
Following their joint initiative ‘An LGBT monument for Ghent now, more than ever before’ (#LHBTMonumentGent) on 19 April 2017, Vannevel and Zebracki proclaimed the Fountain of Kneeling Youths as Monument for Sexual Diversity on 10 August 2018.
This ludic protest action was triggered as an immediate response to a severe incident of gaybashing in Ghent.
At this juncture, Zebracki and Vannevel encountered Verkeerd Geparkeerd and invited them to dream about an alternative, queer pride event for Ghent. This action converged with other Ghent-based collectives and events, such as Queerilla, Girls go BOOM, Out Loud, Bebe, Non-Binary Belgium, cc.SPORT, the Anarcho-Queer Gent action group, the QueerKoorts fair and party and the Queerly Beloved shows and parties of House of Lux.
After protests on the Belgian Pride (19 May 2018) and Antwerp Pride (11 August 2018), with the support of – among others – Collectif de Lutte Trans, Antwerp for Palestine, Palestina Solidariteit and some people from Boysproject, the activists started preparing for an alternative, queer pride with people from Casa Rosa, as envisioned on QueerKoorts.
The idea for the incarnation of a Ghent-based, bottom-up and other-inclusive queer pride gained momentum in collaboration with folks of the online queer community Queer It Up and other local key LGBTQ+ actors who shared a similar dream. By the end of 2018 the foundation was laid for the first edition of Queer Pride Gent.
As Queer Pride Gent wants to safeguard the free, non-commercial nature of this event, it only solicits voluntary contributions from sympathisers. It will start a crowdfunding campaign soon.
Image by Queer Pride Gent