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sábado, 12 de noviembre de 2011

Brussels: gay-friendly city

Belgium was one of the first countries to legalize gay and lesbian weddings (2003) and also give them the possibility to adopt children (2006). That’s probably why Brussels is known as a gay-friendly city and it receives a lot of gay-tourism, but also a lot of people coming to work or study. Any Belgian city is opened to gay-tourism but Brussels, Antwerpen and Liège are known as the most tolerant cities, where is easy to find bars and restaurants with the famous rainbow flag.

Brussels is specifically the gay-friendly city in Belgium. It has more than one million people living there, so it is logical that many inhabitants are gay, lesbians, bisexuals or transgender. They are most conspicuous in the city centre, around the Saint Jacques quarter, the Dansaerstraat and the Sint-Goriksplein. Also Schaarbeek or Sint-Gillis are popular for the gay-community. Gay-life is absolutely lively in Brussels. The Belgian Lesbian and Gay Pride (BLGP) takes place through the central lanes with the full support of political authorities of the city and it attracts a lot of tourists from all over the world. Many gay entertainments are tolerated, such as darkrooms, saunas, etc. although it is recommended to be careful, as it is in all the big cities in Europe.

Quarters can starkly differ with regard to LesBiGay friendliness. A lot of foreigners come to Brussels to work and live because their homosexuality is often less accepted in their home countries. This is a city primarily composed of minority groups and everyone is accepted, as the organisation Rainbowhouse assures “Brussels people have their heart on their tongue, as we say in Dutch, so contact is easily made”. Around Rue du Marché au Charbon, really close to the Grand-Place, it’s easy to find gay-friendly bars and restaurants, such as Platesteen or Chez Maman, not so far from the famous Manneken Pis. In Saint-Jacques there are many shops and other entertainment like Macho sauna, Homo Erectus pub or the boutique Lady Paname, specialized lesbian sex-shop. However, the most famous gay disco in Brussels is located near to the Gare du Midi (Brussel-Zuid) and it is called Fuse Club.

Eating time is, indeed, a good way to meet people and Brussels has a large gay-friendly offer with restaurants, old-fashioned pubs, lounge bars and sunny pavement cafes. Le Boysboudoir has a trendy decoration and Mediterranean menu, H2o receives you within a warm, romantic setting with a seasonally fresh menu, the Chez Maman has Thai cuisine, the lesbian Kika has a cool 1970s design… all gay culture and literature is inside the bookshop Page 69, but you can also buy all kind of rainbow designs in accessory shops like 2BE or Boris Boy. The Brussels Pride is so famous that it has a sculpture in honour of the homosexual community called “Ma mythologie Gay”, made by Jean-François Octave. Art, culture and design are always mixed with the gay-community in Brussels, and there take place a lot of festivals such as Le festival Gay et Lesbiens, about gay cinema, the Saturday Gay Fever, with electro-techno music, and also a lot of monthly events like La Démence, a big party that attracts people from all Europe and The L party, specially for lesbians.

The traditionally Belgian comic passion had also in mind the gay-community and it has many psychedelic murals of Belgium’s most famous cartoon characters. The most loved gay symbol is the mural of Brousaille, a popular 1980s animal detective strolling along arm in arm with his androgynous girlfriend Catherine. Recently, many Brussels organisations have been created to support the gay-friendly city. Not only the Rainbow house carries out a great work, but also Beyond Brussels to 7 Seas (BB7S) was founded in 2009 to promote the Social Art Expression Forums for LGTB community, such as drawing, painting, montage, collage, installation, calligraphy, written and spoken literatures, photography and video-art. The Brussels Gay-community also gives a boost to many solidarity campaigns with Amnesty International and also health campaigns related to AIDs or blood donation. 

Last November, Brussels received a large number of successful events inside The L Week 2010, there took place many big activities related to the Week for Life where a lot of volunteers from the gay-community gave information about AIDs and organised a big event called “Swim for Life”. Belgium tolerates the LGTB community and a lot of gay people decide to settle down here because they feel that their rights are respected. That’s one of the many reasons that should make us feel proud of living or studying here because our home or host country is forerunner in tolerance and freedom.
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sorry if you find any mistake, English's not our mother-tongue and we're improving :) hope you like our first english article! Suggestions are always welcome!


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