Belgium had its first 'gay day' on March 18, 1978 in Ghent. It was organized by the Rooie Vlinder group, a very activist left-wing feminist group. A year later, on May 5, 1979 in Antwerp, gay men and lesbians were on the street for the 'International Day of Homosexuality'. The following year, Rooie Vlinder joined the Federatie Werkgroepen Homofilie (FWH) and the Brussels association CCL to organize Brussels' "National Homosexual and Lesbian Day".
In 1981, the demonstration took place in Antwerp again, and then disappeared for 10 years, following internal dissensions. Only a Lesbian Day was organized in 1983 and 1986, before being renamed L-day thereafter. Drawing inspiration from the Dutch Pink Saturday, a committee was finally created to organize a Pink Saturday in Antwerp on May 5, 1990, which was then organized every two years.
From 1996 on, the parade has taken place in Brussels every year in May, with dozens of organizations coming together to take part in the celebrations. In 1996, nearly 2,500 visitors attended the event, which then became the 'Belgian Lesbian and Gay Pride'. The purpose of this English name is to find a common denominator for the three Belgian linguistic communities. The name changed in 2010, and became The Belgian Pride. Since 2017, the iconic advent has been consistently referred to as 'Belgian Pride'.
The large, exuberant and colorful parade in the streets of Brussels is now the highlight of the Belgian Pride Festival. In May, on a date close to World Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17), it brings together festive, political and cultural events, initiatives and activities, not only in Brussels, the Belgian and European capital, but also throughout Belgium.
Since 2014, Belgian Pride has attracted an average of nearly 100,000 visitors to each edition, cementing its place as one of the country's most festive and popular annual celebrations.
For full details on Belgian Pride 2022, be sure to check out the official event program. Happy Pride!
For 2019, the theme of Belgian Pride will be All for One. Honoring 50 years since the Stonewall Riots, when members of the LGBTQ community rallied for equal rights and recognition, Belgian Pride will encourage solidarity and intersectionality. It aims to emphasize how everyone is unique, and how everyone deserves a valued and respected place in society irrespective of their gender, orientation, race, or sexuality. It also endeavors to highlight queer talent from Brussels and beyond, create connections between different worlds, and offer safe spaces where people can work on establishing a fairer society together.
Everything will officially start on May 2, with the Belgian Pride Kick-Off, which will include a reception at the Town Hall, followed by a march through the city streets. Along with this, you can look forward to an entire program of events throughout the city, including music, shows, cinema, conferences, drag performances, discoveries, celebrations, voguing, and creations.
The highlight of Belgian Pride is the vibrant Pride Parade which will take place on Saturday, May 18, and will weave its colorful way through the cobbled streets of downtown Brussels. The parade kicks off from the Pride Stage in Pride Village (Mont des Arts) at 12pm.
Along with the main parade, Belgian Pride will offer two festive open spaces: Rainbow Village and Pride Village. Rainbow Village runs for the entire weekend (May 17, 18, 19) and will offer roughly ten different open bars, along with an impressive line-up of DJs, circus acts, and drag shows. You can catch all the action in the Quartier Saint Jacques. Pride Village just runs on the Saturday, May 18 from 12pm, where Mont des Arts will host a range of association stands, music events, and a stack of food options.
However you choose to celebrate Pride in the Belgian capital, we guarantee you'll have a festive time!