Brussels – On Saturday 19th May, the Belgian Pride Festival reached its grand finale during the annual Pride Parade. Over 100 000 people and 70 contingents came down to the capital to party, but also to pound the table on the eve of the local elections. With Your Local Power as the central theme the three LGBTI+ umbrella organizations in Belgium (çavaria, Arc-en-Ciel Wallonie and RainbowHouse Brussels) demand that local authorities should commit to an explicit, integrated LGBTI+ policy.

Check the photo story by our photographer Aris Setya.

Belgian Pride Festival
The Belgian Pride Festival is more than just the well-known Pride Parade. On Friday 4 May the official kick-off for the festival was given in Brussels Town Hall. Offering a varied programme including debates, movies, music performances, the Ihsane Jarfi tribute day and finally the Pride Parade, the organisations were able to lure thousands of LGBTI+ personalities and friends to the city. On the day of the Pride Parade there were over 100.000 people.Policy makers support the Your Local Power theme on opening reception. During the official opening reception in the Royal Library of Belgium the participating organisations drew everyone’s attention to the theme Your Local Power.

“Local policy makers can make the difference. Whoever grabs the wheel after October 2018 will have the opportunity to express an integrated LGBTI+ policy in towns and municipalities. That’s why today our colourful parade clearly echoes a loud call: politicians, please consider our community!”

All the rainbow colours on parade wagons, Pride Village, Rainbow Village and Pride Stage

Mayor Philippe Close welcomed everyone to the city, after which the philosophy of the Your Local Power theme was briefly explained during the Pride Parade Kick-Off.

After a glamourous performance by the French drag queen Leona Winter and a dance recital by Trinxx (on high heels) the parade hit the road. This year no less than 70 contingents from all over Belgium joined the exuberant and colourful procession through the centre of Brussels. The festively decorated parade wagons, provided with music and flying rainbow flags, took off in the Ravensteinstraat at 14:30.

Thousands of spectators had also gathered along the track. Cars had been banned obviously, which is why traffic was redirected along the parade route. Due to possible traffic congestion, the organisation had called on people beforehand to leave their car at home.

“Setting up the Belgian Pride takes blood, sweat and tears every year. Thanks to numerous volunteers this year’s parade was one of the most successful we’ve ever had. We already invite everyone to join the 24th edition next year, which will take place in the weekend of 17 May”, says Belgian Pride coordinator Elio De Bolle.

The Pride Village circling the Kunstberg once again drew a huge crowd this year. More than 50 organisations and associations presented their operation: a perfect opportunity for the organisations to communicate directly with their target audience.

On the Pride Stage at the Kunstberg events continued on untill midnight, including dj acts by Ilse Liebens and Dimitri D’Anvers. After closing down the main stage participants and fans of the Belgian Pride moved into different party venues to enjoy the vibrant Brussels’ night life.