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Protect the Protest : Our Claims
published on 31 May 2023
As we prepare to wear the colors of diversity in the streets of Brussels, we, the Brussels federation of LGBTQIA+ associations, wish to draw attention to the following issues for our communities in 2023:
- Beyond the festive aspect, Pride has always been a time for making demands;
- It’s essential to create more solidarity on an international level at a time when the fundamental rights of LGBTQIA+ people are under global attack;
- We ask to anticipate in Belgium, the possible rollback of rights and freedom of expression. To continue to make our voices heard.
Under the slogan Protect The Protest, Rainbow House calls for vigilance regarding the global threat to LGBTQIA+ people’s access to their fundamental rights. Belgium seems relatively unaffected for the time being, but current events show that nothing can be taken for granted.
The community’s voices are regularly stifled (for example, Hungary’s law against “LGBTQIA+ propaganda”, passed in 2021) or instrumentalized by political institutions for electoral purposes.
But let’s not forget that, beyond the festivities, the first Prides were organized to commemorate the Stonewall riots (1969 in New York). This event marked the rebirth of visible LGBTQIA+ activism, which from the outset demanded inclusivity, notably through the activist Marsha P. Johnson, an African-American trans woman, sex worker and drag queen.
Taking part in Pride,
- is about embracing this heritage, recognizing that there are no insignificant minorities, and that respect for the human rights of all people benefits everyone;
- means showing solidarity with struggles all over the world and giving a voice to those who cannot express themselves, while remaining aware of the historic role of the West in the spread of homophobic and transphobic laws;
- means recognizing that LGBTQIA+ communities are precursors of social and political change on a local and global scale.
However, even today, LGBTQIA+ communities can only exist on the margins and in confrontation. We therefore call on all citizens, institutions and political parties to take our demands into account;
- Political leaders must do more to encourage access to information on our needs, and enable civil society to play its full role;
- Institutions must guarantee the independence of LGBTQIA+ associations;
- Anti-discrimination legislation must be completed or improved;
- Solidarity with international LGBTQIA+ rights activists must be strengthened.
- Political leaders at all levels must ensure that information about the needs of LGBTQIA+ communities can be shared freely, without fear of recuperation, censorship or reprisal.
The various communities must be able to raise society’s awareness of their reality, and must be able to campaign without hindrance.
We would also like to reiterate that expressing oneself and providing information on issues relating to gender and sexual orientation, while adapting to different audiences, is not a partisan act, but part of the defense of fundamental human rights.
- Institutions and political decision-makers must respect and encourage independence and the principle of associative autonomy, in particular by pursuing an ambitious funding policy without expecting any quid pro quo.
- We also call on political authorities to commit to all LGBTQIA+ people, with particular attention to those who are less visible (intersex, non-binary…) and to those who suffer from intersecting forms of discrimination (racism, sexism, validism…) or who face emergency situations (migration, homelessness, incarceration…).
The basic principle of non-discrimination with regard to sex, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation must be enshrined in the Constitution.
- Furthermore, Belgium must provide clear and concrete support for the struggle for the rights of LGBTQIA+ people in countries where discrimination is institutionalized or which are in humanitarian crisis. This means not only conducting international campaigns or actions, but also avoiding any compromise with countries that fail to respect fundamental rights.
For these reasons, we call loudly for the protection of the right to express one’s identity, one’s opinion and one’s protest.
Protect the Protest.
Brussels, May 10, 2023