Belgian LGBT refuge shelter announced during annual Brussels Pride

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Monday, May 21, 2018

First-ever Belgian refugee shelter "Refuge" for the victims of violence against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community was announced this Friday by the initiators, one day prior to Brussels' LGBT Pride rally. The refugee shelter is to open in the Belgian capital Brussels in July. Brussels is to grant 50 thousand euros as subsidies for the shelter.

Spokesperson of the "Refuge" Dimitri Verdonck said, "The Rainbow House [umbrella organisation for the Brussels LGBT community], which brings together dozens of associations from the Brussels LGBT community, is approached at least once a week by a young person who has been left to their fate. It is mainly about people who are excluded by their families because the family does not accept that they are different" ((nl))Dutch language: ‍Het Regenbooghuis, dat tientallen verenigingen uit de Brusselse holebiwereld groepeert, wordt minstens één keer per week aangesproken door een jongere die aan zijn lot is overgelaten. Het gaat vooral om mensen die door hun gezin uitgesloten zijn, omdat het gezin niet aanvaardt dat ze verschillend zijn.

Last year, 84 cases of discrimination against the LGBT community were reported to equal-rights organisation Unia. Per this refuge programme, up to four victims of anti-LGBT mistreatment are to be provided shelter in a flat, whose location is not to be disclosed. The programme aims to accomodate up to ten such people by the end of this year. A similar refuge programme was launched in France fifteen years ago in 2003.

Saturday's Brussels Pride was the 23rd iteration of the annual pride which gathered around 100 thousand participants. The pride began at 2:30 PM, local time, at the Ravenstein street. This year's pride focused on the "Your Local Power" theme for the upcoming municipal elections scheduled for October. A number of politicians including the city Mayor Philippe Close, Johan Van den Driessche, Meyrem Almaci, Pascal Smet, as well as Sven Gatz attended the pride. Former Belgian prime minister Elio Di Rupo was also one of the attendees.

Regarding this year's theme, the Pride's co-ordinator and spokesperson Elio De Bolle said, "That message is very important because there are elections. It is important to look at what can be improved within the local policy" ((nl))Dutch language: ‍Die boodschap is erg belangrijk omdat het verkiezingen zijn. Het is belangrijk om eens te kijken naar wat er nog verbeterd kan worden binnen het lokale beleid. Around 70 related events were organised since May 4. The pride parade ended at around 5 PM. One attack by counter-demonstrators was reported.

"You notice that there is still work to be done based on experience and openness. That is why I am also calling for every municipality to designate a councillor of equal opportunities" ((nl))Dutch language: ‍Je merkt dat er naar ervaring en openheid toe nog werk aan de winkel is. Daarom pleit ik er ook voor dat elke gemeente een schepen van Gelijke Kansen zou aanduiden, State Secretary for the Equal Opportunities and Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams politician Bianca Debaets said.

Festival area, Brussels
Image: Romaine. (CC0 1.0)

Image: Romaine. (CC0 1.0)

Image: Romaine. (CC0 1.0)

Image: Romaine. (CC0 1.0)

Image: Romaine. (CC0 1.0)

Image: Romaine. (CC0 1.0)
Brussels Stock Exchange in colours of rainbow
Image: Romaine. (CC0 1.0)
Brussels city hall decorated in the rainbow lights
Image: Romaine. (CC0 1.0)
Brussels Grand Palace in colours of rainbow
Image: Romaine. (CC0 1.0)
Brussels Grand Palace in colours of rainbow
Image: Romaine. (CC0 1.0)
Brussels Grand Palace in colours of rainbow
Image: Romaine. (CC0 1.0)

Image: Romaine. (CC0 1.0)
Rogier Tower lit up in lights of rainbow colours
Image: Romaine. (CC0 1.0)



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