Even in our hyper diverse, open, twenty-first century, urban society there are still individuals and groups who stigmatise, exclude or verbally and even physically attack those in the LGBTQI+ community. In Brussels too, it is not always self-evident to walk hand in hand or kiss your loved one in the streets and that needs to change.
Rector Pauwels: “No matter your heritage, gender or sexual orientation. To us, every individual is unique and deserving of the same respect. Because diversity is not the cause, but rather the remedy for inflexibility, narrow-mindedness and stagnation. By attending the Belgian Pride, the VUB community wishes to embrace all shapes and forms of diversity. For diversity is a gift!”
The Brussels universities want to send a clear statement against homo- and transphobia through their participation in the Belgian Pride. Their call for acceptance and the embrace of diversity is a strong message to Europe, Brussels, but also its own professors, students and staff.
Rector Pauwels: “At open-minded universities such as ULB and VUB there is no need to hide your love, but this should also be possible in Brussels and by extension the rest of the world. We want to therefore send a very clear message that here everyone can experience their love however they choose. At the same time we encourage everyone to help defend this right wherever is needed. Since what difference does it make who you are in love with? Infatuation and diversity are some of the most beautiful things there are and we should all embrace them wholeheartedly.”
That is exactly why rector Caroline Pauwels has invited LGBTQI+ activist Kasha Nabagesera. She has been striving for equal rights for homosexuals and transgenders in Uganda for years. A perilous affair in a country where the LGBTQI+ community have to stay under the radar for fear of their own lives. “Kasha is an inspiring and courageous woman,” rector Pauwels states, “I find it important that her story of struggle is also told here and that we look for connection in it, from the local to the global level.”
Looking for students of professors who can tell you more about homo- and transphobia. Underneath you can find a list of VUB experts.
Maaike Faes – chairman BASTA! (Brusselse vereniging voor holebi-jongeren)
Remy Bonny – Student Political Sciences
Works on a masterthesis about east European politics and LGTB-rights
Karen Celis – political expert and expert in emancipation, representation of women, etnical minorities, feminism and LGTBQI+ expert
Dave Sinardet – Political scientist
Johan Vansintejan – medical doctor specialized in research on sexual behavior of the LGBTQI+ community