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New campaign aims to make LGBTQIA+ people more visible outside Brussels city centre

13:31 04/05/2022

A new campaign called Share the Color by equal.brussels seeks to increase LGBTQIA+ visibility outside the city centre.

“The #sharethecolor campaign is an important tool to promote the rights and inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people,” the organisation said in a statement. 

“It encourages the people of Brussels to become allies of LGBTQIA+ people and focuses on the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in the neighbourhoods of Brussels.”

The campaign will run until 23 May 2022 and has four objectives: fighting stereotypes and breaking taboos specifically affecting LGBTQIA+ people; promoting respect for diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity; asserting the rights of victims of all forms of discrimination by empowering them to take ownership of the public space; and raising awareness of said discrimination. 

Posters displayed on buses and trams

Advertisements for the initiative are displayed on Stib buses and trams throughout Brussels, encouraging people to share photos of themselves wearing nail polish – often assumed to be only for women-presenting people – using the hashtag #sharethecolor.

“In terms of anti-discrimination, being an ally means being someone who is not directly affected by LGBTQIA+-phobic discrimination, but who provides explicit support,” the organisation explained.

“It means listening and taking an interest in the experiences and needs of LGBTQIA+ people in order to best support them. Being an ally is not a fixed identity but a political act that can evolve.”

This will be the first time the organisation conducts a campaign focusing on Brussels neighbourhoods outside the city centre, where LGBTQIA+ people live but are not necessarily as visible. 

Progress still needed against discrimination

While Belgium – and Brussels – play a pioneering role in the area of rights of LGBTQIA+ persons, figures from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights indicate there is still progress to be made.

According to those figures, 66% of non-heterosexual people surveyed in Belgium still avoid holding hands in public and 27% say they avoid certain places in public for fear of being attacked.

The campaign from equal.brussels hopes to encourage other Brussels neighbourhoods to take actions for inclusion similar to the ones hosted in Ixelles, Molenbeek and Schaerbeek. A larger event to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May will take place by Brussels Central Station.

The #sharethecolor campaign is the flagship action of a broader plan for the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people led by secretary of state for equal opportunities Nawal Ben Hamou. 

The Belgian Pride Parade will take place in Brussels on Saturday 21 May 2022.

 

Written by Helen Lyons