by De Ket in Columns & Opinions , 24 July 2012
Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar
Dear Northern Neighbors, the day before Gay News went to the printer, we had Gay Pride in Brussels. No less than 50,000 participants had come to our capital, quite a few more than last year. Traditionally the weather was dodgy: no rain but especially when the sun had gone the temperature painfully dropped to the level of a fresh winter evening. It wasn’t very pleasant so that might explain why the streets emptied out so quickly afterwards.
Pride itself was actually a rather sad affair. The only prominent participants with floats were the political parties because our divided little country will have elections again in October this year; municipal elections this time. I counted all in all ten floats, one of them breaking down repeatedly along the way so it sometimes took half an hour for the parade to get started again. Never before have I seen such a slow and messy, clumsy gay pride.
A few gay scenes that traditionally bring a lot of people together on these occasions, like the leather scene and the sports club BGS, hardly pulled a dozen each that had really come to celebrate. With BGS they thought it was cool to stand waving tiny little flags like total idiots. I always have the impression that they like to talk about sports with BGS, more than they like to actually exercise. It wasn’t a very good look. The Straffe Ketten on the other hand... the gay rugby team of Brussels. Now these men are sportsmen. You can see these men practice sports.
As I said the caravans of the political parties were prominent, which made gay pride once more a political pride. The political floats tore through the Brussels’ streets with their loud music followed by a group of young political activists, who seemed either intoxicated or in some sort of trance. Very trashy. Gay pride as a political statement, really? But it’s not surprising because the electoral landscape in Belgium is so completely scattered that one percent of the vote is enough to tip the balance and decide whether a party becomes part of the government or part of the opposition. This is the case nationally, provincially and also on municipal level. So the political vote of the homosexual community can actually make a difference for a political party.
Just like last year there were a lot of lesbians in the parade. Young and old. The gay men were clearly a minority. Just like last year, and the year before that. There were more youngsters too. Forty plus preferred to stay on the sidewalk and watch, which is perhaps the way it should be: make room for the younger generation.
And as I said before, the parade took long. Very long. Much too long. One float kept breaking down and it took ten to twenty minutes each time to get going again. So everybody got confused, thought the parade had come to an end and started walking towards the Kolenstraat, only to find out that the second part of the parade was taking off, as a couple of amateur technicians managed to get the truck going again. And then the whole thing would break down again 200 meters further. The parade took hours longer than planned.
Finally, considering the current state of affairs around gay bashing in Belgium Outrage (www.outrage.be) took part in gay pride for the first time. This organization, directed by activist Björn Pius, has grown into a genuine gay association over the past year and puts anti-gay violence on the political agenda. Successfully, because the government received a delegation of activists a few days ago and together they came to a police action plan. Let’s see when and how things are put in practice because there’s no lack of political plans in this little country. It’s the execution of them that’s usually the problem.
N E W