Today, Saturday 10 August, the Antwerp Pride parade ran through the streets of Antwerp in Belgium. Some 90,000 attended the parade as participant or as spectator.
The partition between participant and spectator at Antwerp Pride is very fluid. You can join or leave the actual parade almost at will. Unlike what I have experienced at Pride in London and at the Belgian Pride in Brussels.
The 2019 route was designed to start in a more multicultural part of the city. Antwerp North or ‘2060‘ (after the postal code) is home of people from many nationalities and backgrounds. Being openly gay can be more of challenge than the more white and gentrified Historic Centre (postal code 2000).
The parade quickly crossed the partitioning Italiëlei (Italy Avenue) to go to the Scheldekaaien (Scheldt Quays) and the Gedempte Zuiderdokken (Drained Southern Docks).
With clement, yet windy weather the parade was a success. Everyone looked happy and Antwerp Police reported zero incidents.
The LGBTQ community isn’t at risk from extremist, right wing or hooligan violence at prides, but from within. Not everyone appreciates the active and visible participation of the police, political parties, trade unions and businesses.
But why weren’t there any protests? There are a few reasons. Antwerp isn’t Brussels. Tolerance for right wing political parties is bigger. A protest by #QueersAgainstPinkwashing already took place with a sticker initiative. Thirdly the organising committee was and is smart enough to address some issues by introducing a POC* Pride Belgium and amending the rainbow flag.
I made a video with all the delegations at the parade. Not every delegation was clear in communicating who they are and why they’re there.