Pride. It’s the mystic time of year when uncles tell their favourite brand of canned soup on Facebook how they feel about that temporary rainbow logo. Because ‘what about Straight Pride’? It’s the season when we give thanks to clothing multinationals donating .000001% of proceeds from a sequin-smothered, south-from-sustainable crop top that say ‘ME SO G@Y LMAO’. A beautiful period when politicians send aides scrambling for a ‘relatable’ multi-coloured polyester flower chain and practice their best ‘I’m down with these clowns pls I need your sweet Gen Z vote’ peace signs in the mirror. We could get even more cynical, quite rightly so, but I’ve decided to focus your attention on the people who deserve it. On us! It’s been 50 years since Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson lead a charge of intersectional protests at Stonewall. Half a century! Yet in Belgium alone, our local discrimination watchdog noted 49% more reports of homophobic violence or discrimination in 2018. The fight continues. So get in gear, fellow queers, because Belgian Pride 2019 is wrapping a big colourful hug around Brussels from May 3 till May 18. Just like last year, we’ve compiled a few highlights to make it the best one yet. Have a happy, safe, liberating and love-laced Pride!
If the internet were allowed to decide, this year’s Pride theme would probably be a mixture of Homecoming, Thanos memes and Kim Petras - but luckily we don’t get a say. “All For One” is the official Belgian Pride creed in 2019. Intersectionality is the baseline theme and the organisers aim to emphasise the singular uniqueness of anyone who identifies as LGBTQIA+ with the hashtag #AllForOne, also wishing to take a stand against discrimination and exclusion. Quite a terrific theme, I’d say.
The parade may be the headline event, but there are plenty of smaller happenings planned to make your May gay. A few highlights:
Rainbow Tours through Brussels – May 4
Trans March Brussels - May 4
‘Happy Birthday Marsha’ + ‘Sins Invalid’ screening & round table – May 10
‘Homosexualités et transidentités : où en est mon école ?’ – May 8 (French-spoken)
‘Shirt Uit’ play by Fahd Larhzaoui – May 7 (Dutch-spoken)
Queer Pride Ghent - first edition (0,5h train ride from Brussels) - May 11
‘Rafiki’ screening – May 12
Drag King workshops – May 15
For All Queens ‘The Colonisation of Black Culture’ screenings + discussion - May 17
Belgian Pride Fetish Social - May 19
For All Queens Reunion - May 19
Rainbow Brunch - May 19
You haven’t lived until you’ve surrounded yourself with humans of every tribe and ilk, stomping exuberantly to Eurotrash pop from tinny float speakers on a Saturday afternoon in Brussels! So join the parade on May 18. There’s a Pride Village on the Mont des Arts and a Rainbow Village in the Quartier Saint-Jacques as well as countless acts and performances, DJ sets, tastings, drinks and beautiful protests to join. Make a sign, cut up an outfit, hop into the group that you feel drawn to and be unabashedly you.
It’s important for the ‘P’ in Pride to stand for ‘protest’, sure, but let’s not forget ‘party’. Looking for a spot to lose yourself in the music? Head over here:
Love Carnage: Last Days Of x Darling - May 4
Los Ninos – May 18
Belgian Pride Afterparty – May 18
‘Lash-up’ for gay women & their friends – May 18
Women’s Square - May 18
We’ve said it before but it bears repeating: you might not be able to - or want to go to - Pride this year, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t luxuriate in self-love and pride in the way that works just for you. You’re brilliantly you and that deserves celebrating. It’s all love.