|Letter from Brussels: On Homonationalism, Gay Activism and Extremism|
by De Ket in Columns & Opinions , 24 July 2018
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Dear Neighbors to the North, The Belgian Pride of May 19 was held over a month ago. It was a pride that is memorable for several reasons. In the first place because of the Pride itself. For obscure reasons, the parade went through the narrow streets of Brussels’ centre.
This meant that the biggest float was actually a big van, and that there was no room for trucks as seen at other Prides. Admittedly, having it go along the central Boulevard Anspach was not an option as it is currently getting a do up. But the centre of Brussels has many a beautiful avenue with ample room for a Pride and associated trucks. The real reason will probably never be revealed. The problems with the do up of the Boulevard Anspach can only be an excuse.
With the municipal elections of October 14, it was bound to be - yet again - a political parade. Almost all Belgian political parties participated, both left and right-wing and parties in the centre. However, extreme left-wing activists were of the opinion that the politics of N-VA leave little room for tolerance, and so the Brussels GLBTQI+ association Tels Quels decided on a short sit-in for N-VA’s float. Shortly after the “sit in,” six women from left anarchist circles decided to storm the N-VA float. The Brussels police intervened brutally and detained almost all the ladies until the end of the Pride.
Apparently, the extreme left-wing and anarchist interventions were well appreciated by French-speaking gays. The visceral aversion of the French-speaking Belgians to N-VA chairman Bart De Wever and Theo Francken (N-VA), our Secretary of State for Asylum and Immigration, is so deeply rooted that for French-speaking gays all Flemish homosexuals are “homonationalists.” A few days later, an extreme left-wing politician who is a member of the Police Board of the City of Brussels gave the mayor a grilling because of the violence that the police had supposedly used to curb and arrest these hysterical left-wing women.
The mayor of Brussels denied that excessive force was used, but the politician in question also stated “that the names of the ladies in question appear in different police records, and that they are known for other disruptive public actions.” In other words: twenty Tels Quels members and six ladies found it necessary to disrupt this Pride because they do not agree with N-VA’s policies. Of course, they are entitled to their opinion. However, in a free country, the N-VA may also make its point of view known. They do not have to agree with the N-VA, but making the party out as diabolical will only make N-VA more popular.
The many reactions on social media showed that extreme left-wing French-speaking gays are targeting the Flemish voter and the Flemish homosexual in general. As if every Flemish gay person in the electoral booth brings out a nationalistic vote on the N-VA. Other reactions, from the left and from the right, are suggesting to ban all political parties from the Pride. Also, according to the left-wing movement within the organizing committee of the Belgian Pride, banning the N-VA will suffice. But then ban all political parties from the Pride - at least that is a just playing field. Banning one specific party should make you realize that that party will probably get even more votes in the next election.
These “Pride” incidents and the social media reactions show that, first and foremost, we need to take a good look at our “own” pointing out those who are responsible for gay hatred and homophobia. The term homonationalism, used for gay people who vote N-VA, is used passively and inappropriately by gay extremists and anarchists, whose sole purpose is to divide the Belgian gay community for the extreme left-wing and anarchists’ conviction of being in the right.
First and foremost, Belgian Pride should be for everyone in this large and diverse community, no matter what their political opinion. In Brussels, however, there are some (extreme) left-wing gay associations that clearly no longer share this opinion. They should take into account that they will lose their government subsidies when they dare to venture onto thin ice politically speaking. An informed homosexual is worth two.
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