antwerp pride 2021

Antwerp Pride is fed up with the growing intolerance on social media, both within and outside the LGBTQIA+ community. With its slogan #notjustwords, the fourteenth edition of Antwerp Pride – taking place from Wednesday 11 through Sunday 15 August – will focus on online discrimination and bullying. ‘The way we treat each other in society, starts with ourselves” it reads. “Think twice before hitting that post button, because words are #notjustwords.” The launch of the campaign today is no coincidence: today is the international day for a safer internet.

This year’s theme is not accompanied by major demands or strong calls for action, but it does express a genuine concern regarding hate, bullying and discrimination on social media.  

Over the last couple of months, we have been confronted with rather concerning and sometimes downright degrading statements regarding LGBTQIA+ people by politicians, opinion leaders and tv presenters in mainstream media. All too often, these statements were made out of ignorance, clumsiness or indifference. Sometimes, apologies – genuine or not – followed, but these statements keep resurfacing out of negligence all too often.

Within the LGBTQIA+ community too, we are not exactly always kind to one another. On social media and dating apps, people are hurt and discriminated for not meeting certain so-called standards: they are too feminine or too butch, gender non-conforming or a different colour of skin. We should not turn a blind eye and be willing as a community to put our own house in order.

Social media actually facilitate and spread intolerance more easily. The developments in Poland, Hungary and recently also the United States have made that crystal clear. These are no far away stories, but should trigger us to remain even more vigilant.

“The way we treat each other starts with ourselves”, according to Antwerp Pride Chairman Bart Abeel. “We hope that this theme will help reflect and think about words and hurtful language we sometimes use unconsciously. We hope people will do some research before voicing strong opinions, that they twist their tongue before commenting on a news item, that empathy and tolerance will enter the online world a little more. There is really no need to reject someone on a dating app with hurtful or racist lines. Especially on young people, these words can leave terrible scars.  And that is why words are #notjustwords“.

The fourteenth edition of Antwerp Pride will take place from Wednesday 11 through Sunday 15 August. As it is still highly uncertain what type of events will be allowed by then, this year’s edition will be scaled down as well. The Antwerp Pride Parade and Festivals will not be organized this summer.

Antwerp Pride does plan a Rainbow Village, a follow up of the successful Trail of Stories from last year, Human Rights Friday and many partners are making plans as well. More information will follow in the Antwerp Pride Magazine, but rest assured that the rainbow colors will shine above our beautiful city of Antwerp this summer. 

Antwerp Pride sends out its support and sympathy to friends and partners that have been hit hard by this pandemic.

Relive Antwerp pride 2020 during the pandemic:

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lesley AP

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Lesley Middleton, owner of  PINK IN OUR LIVES

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