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On May 19 the annual Belgian Pride will take over the streets of Brussels again. Among the 90.000 partygoers at this fest of sexual diversity there will be an official delegation of VUB and ULB for the first time. Because although both universities have always been active proponents for equal rights for the LGBTQI+ community - long before legislation actually granted these rights - the fight is long from over. Half a century after May ‘68 the university therefore gladly gets on the barricades once again with a plea against homo- and transphobia.
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!”
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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.”