It is no surprise there will not be a physical pride parade again this year in Brussels. COVID-19 and coronavirus countermeasures are spoiling that party. The Belgian Pride will instead hold a livestream broadcasted from the Grande Place / Grote Markt.
From 2 PM on Saturday 22 May there will be music, interviews and testimonials. At 7 PM there will be deejay sets and performances.
“Our wish is that people celebrate pride at home”, says The Belgian Pride chairperson Laurent Mallet in a press release. “We also want to show the LGBTQI+ community is very much alive.”
“The Belgian Pride is strong brand and many people from Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia look forward to the Belgian Pride, which culminates in the pride parade through the streets of the capital”, Mallet says.
Announcing there will be no parade hurts.
For extra visibility, The Belgian Pride asks people of Brussels to draw a rainbow in front of their front door, on the pavement. The Belgian Pride will provide for special pavement chalk.
This year’s theme is ‘We Care‘. A focus on well-being and mental, physical and social health.
“Health” sensu lato, in broad sense, is very topical.
“It’s not just a matter of physical health, but also of mental and social health”, coordinator Rachael Moore says. “Younger, older and single LGBTQI+ persons are going through a hard time as meeting up live is not possible.”
Transgender people must must cope with delayed gender affirming surgery.
“The digital pride will therefor focus on people in our community who had an even harder time. We pay attention to their challenges and we show their stories.”
“Nevertheless, this digital edition must also be festive, albeit physically distanced”, Moore says.
LGBTQI+ people have a complex, perhaps even love-hate relationship with health care.
Intersex persons still have to undergo unnecessary surgery without consent with traumatic and lifelong consequences. Parents and doctors make gender affirming choices the child may very possibly rue later in life.
LGBTQI+ are often pushed back into the closet and their queer identity is often being denied or ‘forgotten’.
Trans people still not always find the way to medical attention tailored to to their needs. Coronavirus countermeasures son’t help.
Moore and Mallet also point toward conversion therapy, hiv, gender transition and lack of knowledge of lesbian sex and lesbian sexual health.
2021 started badly with the homophobic murder of David Polfliet in Beveren.
“Taking care of each other is ever so important”, Moore says. “We need more visibility, but also extra financial support for LGBTQI+ phobia reporting instances, for instance”, Moore says.
“But also for free psychological help and better training for public services.”
But action and pride must also be visible. The rainbow pavement initiative must achieve that.
The Belgian Pride aims to have as many streets donned in rainbow colours in the Pride Week of 17 to 22 May. 17 May is also International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).
The Belgian Pride has already contacted people to support this visibility actions and counts on some big names to join.
“Pride is more than a one-day yearly event. As organisation, we are repositioning ourselves to hold actions throughout the year.
But first, pride 2021. The Belgian Pride hope to see many people celebrating pride using #WeCare.
What about 2022? Chairperson Laurent Mallet hopes a parade will be possible as is traditional.