I remember I went to my first gay pride in Amsterdam three years ago. The atmosphere is the city was insane and I really enjoyed the parade. Consequently, I decided I should also visit the Antwerp pride. Luckily, in 2013 I was assigned to organise a press trip in Antwerp for the World Outgames, including the Antwerp pride. It was one of the nicest events I’ve ever been! This year I promised myself to visit the Belgian Pride -Brussels gay pride – and to experience how the city centre would turn into one big party.
The day started off well in Brussels on May 17th: the sun was shining brightly and while I walked out of the train station I was amidst a crowd full of happy people wearing colourful outfits. It immediately helped me to get into the mood. I met with a group of friends at a nice terrace close to Grand Place. They are the chief editors of gay magazines/website in the Netherlands, so I couldn’t wish for better company to visit the pride. I offered them some fresh cold beers and we toasted on a beautiful and cheerful pride! From our chairs we sure had a good view on the crowd. Between the pride visitors we spotted some confused tourists, I guess they didn’t know Brussels was is a gay mood that day.
A nice speech was given on the stairs of the Beurs, a gigantic Palladian building with tall columns at the Anspachlaan. I think this was the perfect location to speak to the audience. The director of the event spoke some interesting words about human rights and gay friendly Brussels. Then a transsexual lady sang us some beautiful songs followed by the release of a bunch of helium balloons and loud music. The parade wagons were allowed to take off, let’s get this party starting! The temperature was rising, people were dancing and we moved through the crowd to enjoy the atmosphere at the surrounding streets. In the meanwhile, we were surprised by the outfits people were wearing. We soon noticed that the pride was not only meant for adults, but also for families. Little kids joined their parents at a special kids square and families also walked around the party areas in the side streets. That’s what I call integration!
The most colourful and fun street I visited was by far was the Rue du Marché au Charbon. This street is known for a great variety of gay cafes. Beers were in abundance, there was good music and people were dancing.
The day passed by soon and before I knew I had to get back to the train station to catch my train to Rotterdam. My friends stayed over the night since they didn’t want to miss all the great party’s at night. Afterwards I heard some great stories of the different events, what a pity I didn’t stay longer. However, there’s a pride coming up in Antwerp in August so there will be a new chance to party until morning. I heard the famous Conchita Wurst will be singing there! To be continued…
For more information on gay Brussels and nice tips for bars and nightlife, go to the Visit Brussels website.