A word from the chairman

Credit: Marcel Lennartz.

What’s your name? Where are you from? Where do you live? Are you married or do you have children?… How often do we have to answer those questions, or how often have we already asked them when first meeting someone?

And these are only a handful from a whole arsenal of questions, whose answers together with our visual and audio observations (skin colour, language, etc ..) help us to form an image of one another, or to be able to “bring someone home”.
It thus indicates an “irresistible urge” to “identify”, and is probably indicative of our need to belong to something. So it goes without saying that when in those essential facets of our very human being such as sexuality (but also culture, religion, etc.) the answers to the how / what / where questions deviates from the prevailing reason, there are serious “identity” problems that may then arise.
For example, we see that despite our own very liberal legislation, some 4 out of 10 school children feel unsafe at school because of their sexual identity… or that LGBT refugees from Africa and the Middle East have on the one hand a particularly difficult time identifying themselves with their own cultural community because of their sexual orientation, and yet on the other hand with our society because of language / culture / religion… or that we see many people who looking for their appropriate gender identity, also suffering from depression.
All this makes it clear how important it is to seek, form, accept and make accepted an identity in order to live together in a successful way. Since there is so much social and political debate about identity we thought at Antwerp Pride: let’s throw it into the group as the theme of 2018.
Further on in this booklet you will find a variety of interesting points of view, discussions, and testimonials of people from our city around this theme. And on Friday 10th August, together with our partner Het Roze Huis, we are organizing a debate “Identity in a local diversity policy” with all of the party leaders, and in the run-up to the municipal elections to be held in October.
And we at Antwerp Pride want to set a good example: with our extensive and diverse programme, collaborations and partners of various kinds, we want to ensure that all our visitors / participants from both inside and outside the city can identify with our / their Pride.
And because this summer Antwerp is celebrating the art of the baroque – with which this city identifies – we will not celebrate modestly.
Thanks to all our partners and volunteers.

Enjoy Antwerp Pride!
Love United on behalf of the Antwerp Pride team
Bart Abeel