Antwerp Pride 2021 plans Pride Village on 14 and 15 August at Operaplein

Operaplein.

As in 2020, there will be no pride parade for Antwerp Pride in 2021. Even if COVID-19 statistics are getting lower and thus better at the moment, holding a pride parade is just not realistic. 

It’s too much to ask for at the moment for the Antwerp Pride crew. Not only is it not so smart to have so many people together – even with better stats and a vaccination campaign on a roll – in a festive environment. But a parade is also too much to ask for the LGBTQI organisations, businesses and horeca at the moment. Organising a parade demands time, money and certainties which are absent at the moment. So there will also be no major festivals or parties.

Pride Village

But there will be a Pride Village. “On the 14th and 15th of August, you’ll find our brand new Pride Village, the heart of Antwerp Pride 2021, located at Operaplein. Come and relax to some sunny beats, rent a pair of rollerskates, join our Pride Dates or get to know our partner organisations a bit more.”

On Saturday 14 June, the village will be open from 12 PM (noon) to 10 PM. O Sunday 15 June from 12 PM to 8 PM. Admission is free. 

Opera House.

#NotJustWords

This year’s theme is ‘Not Just Words‘. 

Antwerp Pride is fed up with the growing intolerance on social media, both within and outside the LGBTQIA+ community. With its slogan #NotJustWords, the fourteenth edition of Antwerp Pride – taking place from Wednesday 11 through Sunday 15 August – will focus on online discrimination and bullying. 

“The way we treat each other in society, starts with ourselves” it reads. “Think twice before hitting that post button, because words are #notjustwords.” 

This year’s theme is not accompanied by major demands or strong calls for action, but it does express a genuine concern regarding hate, bullying and discrimination on social media.  

“Over the last couple of months, we have been confronted with rather concerning and sometimes downright degrading statements regarding LGBTQIA+ people by politicians, opinion leaders and tv presenters in mainstream media. All too often, these statements were made out of ignorance, clumsiness or indifference. Sometimes, apologies – genuine or not – followed, but these statements keep resurfacing out of negligence all too often”, Antwerp Pride says.

“Within the LGBTQIA+ community too, we are not exactly always kind to one another. On social media and dating apps, people are hurt and discriminated for not meeting certain so-called standards: they are too feminine or too butch, gender non-conforming or a different colour of skin. We should not turn a blind eye and be willing as a community to put our own house in order.”

“Social media actually facilitate and spread intolerance more easily. The developments in Poland, Hungary and recently also the United States have made that crystal clear. These are no far away stories, but should trigger us to remain even more vigilant.

Others and ourselves

Bart Abeel.

“The way we treat each other starts with ourselves”, according to Antwerp Pride chairman Bart Abeel

“We hope that this theme will help reflect and think about words and hurtful language we sometimes use unconsciously. We hope people will do some research before voicing strong opinions, that they twist their tongue before commenting on a news item, that empathy and tolerance will enter the online world a little more. There is really no need to reject someone on a dating app with hurtful or racist lines. Especially on young people, these words can leave terrible scars.  And that is why words are #notjustwords.”

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