After another chilly winter, the sun is finally shining on the continent once again. It’s time for barbecues in the park, cool beers after work, and most importantly for the LGBT community, it’s the beginning of Pride season.
For the European LGBT community, the summer months are a veritable feast of Pride events and parties. Major cities like London and Madrid attract diverse crowds year after year, but in 2014, the Belgian capital of Brussels is staging some major celebrations.
Belgian Pride Day
From May 2nd, Brussels is host to a series of Pride events, from film festivals to theme parties. It all culminates in a huge street parade on May 17th, when the city stops in its tracks to celebrate gay life in Belgium. This year’s parade is particularly significant; it coincides with the International Day Against Homophobia and celebrates a pertinent “Vote for Equality” theme, publicising relevant LGBT issues during election month. Around 80,000 people turned up to watch last year’s parade, which featured floats from Belgian LGBT organisations, hotels, bars, and nightclubs. This year, the parade will start promptly at 2pm, departing from the celebrated Bourse building (home to the Brussels Stock Exchange). Get a front row view from our Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Brussels; at the heart of the city, it’s an easy walk from the parade route.
A celebration of LGBT diversity
Pride in Brussels is so much more than just a parade. The 2-week festival caters to academics and film buffs alike, aiming to educate and entertain with a diverse programme of lectures and screenings. You’ll find feminist workshops and debates – ideal for couples and friends with an activist streak – as well as group oriented day-long events like Visi-BI-lity, a celebration of bisexuality in Belgium. There’s even a run scheduled for athletic types! The events taking over the city aim to celebrate the incredible diversity of Belgium’s LGBT community, so no matter what your interests, you’re sure to find an event that’s appealing. Festival highlights include a debate on transfeminism at the Rainbow House on May 15th, queer improvised theatre at the Rainbow House on May 14th, and an LGBT quiz night on May 16th.
The best of the Pride parties
Pride events are important for LGBT visibility – but they’re also hugely inclusive and a whole lot of fun, so no matter what your reason for visiting Brussels, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. Despite the city’s reputation for buttoned-up bureaucracy, LGBT Brussels definitely knows how to throw a party. Check out the special events planned throughout the thriving after-dark scene of gay bars and nightclubs, including parties at Velvet 69 and Revolution on the night of the 17th. Velvet 69′s “Trooping the Colour” event promises all-night celebration, while Revelation’s nightclub party will be one for dance music aficionados who want to keep dancing until the music stops in the early hours of the morning.