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City of Brussels launches LGBTQI+ plan of action and unveils new art work
Presenting the city’s new LGBTQI+ plan of action on Friday, Khalid Zian, alderman for equal opportunity, underlined the continuing need to combat discrimination.
“Even though Belgium is considered the second most LGBT-friendly country in the world according to the Rainbow ranking, there is still a long way to go because even within the framework of progressive legislation and high community acceptance, the local associations concerned still far too often report instances of discrimination towards LGBTQI+ citizens,” he said.
The 60-page plan covers 12 city departments and includes the following elements:
• The establishment of a training program for police officers to sensitise them to the problem of harassment in public that LGBTQI+ people suffer. Creation of a victim support unit specifically for victims of homophobic violence. An internal review resulting in new procedures for better dealing of hate crimes.
• A reinforcement of logistical support for LGBTQI+ shelters. The city has provided a flat, free of charge, to the nonprofit Le Refuge for the sheltering of young people on the street who have either fled the family home or been thrown out due to their sexual orientation.
• The creation of a permanent LGBTQI+ advisory board to advise the city administration made up of members of various LGBTQI+ associations.
In conjunction with the release of the plan of action, artist and photographer Pierre Debusschere has created a monumental work entitled Embrace Diversity at the Place de la Bourse (pictured, above).
“This image is filled with hope as I ardently wish for a better future in which we entwine our diversities,” said the artist.
Describing the work, Delphine Houba, alderwoman for culture, said: “Debusschere constantly questions gender, sex, identity, society’s norms; basing his work on classical sculpture, fashion shoots, and the whole spectrum from Pop Art to the work of Robert Mapplethorpe.”