(pouze v angličtině) Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). To show our support for the LGBTQI+ community, the buildings of the Flemish public administration and several of Flanders’ Diplomatic Representations abroad are flying the rainbow flag.
On 17 May 1990, the World Health Organisation (WHO) decided to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder, which is why the LGBTQI+ community chose 17 May as the date for IDAHOT. Events are being organised in 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are still illegal today. ‘Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Rights' is the international theme of IDAHOT 2022.
In international comparisons, Belgium is doing well when it comes to LGBTQI+ rights. Our country ranks third on the Rainbow Europe Index 2022 of ILGA, the European umbrella organisation of LGBTQI+ organisations. This ranking indicates to what extent countries take into account the rights of LGBTQI+ persons in their legislation and policies. Flanders is largely responsible for this good score.
Unfortunately, LGBTQI+ people in Flanders still face discrimination and even violence. In order to gain a better understanding of the situation, the Government of Flanders is having a survey conducted among LGBTQI+ people about their experiences with violence. The results will be known by the end of 2022.
The Government of Flanders supports various projects at home and abroad. In Flanders, for example, it is funding the brand new project Safe(r) Spaces. The non-profit organisations Wel Jong and çavaria want to create more places where LGBTQI+ people can be themselves, where they can find peace of mind, and where they can ask questions or have a conversation. They do this together with the LGBTQI+ community in all its diversity.
Abroad, the Government of Flanders very recently supported the following LGBTQI+ projects:
- Mozaika, the largest LGBTQI+ organisation in Latvia, received support to build legal expertise to tackle discrimination. Mozaika is co-organiser of the Baltic Pride, the foundation of which was also supported by Flanders in 2005.
- Bedayaa Organisation in Egypt received support to build a network for LBQ women where they can exchange knowledge and experiences and take part in cultural activities and workshops.
- The Polish 'Love Does Not Exclude Association' received financial support to provide legal aid to people from the LGBTQI+ community who need it.
- Flanders also provides regular support to the European Governmental LGBTI Focal Points Network (EFPN) of the Council of Europe. This network started informally with the exchange of good practices between the Governments of the Netherlands and Flanders in 2008. In the meantime, it has developed into an intergovernmental working group with 36 members and is anchored within the Council of Europe.
It is the Government of Flanders’ intention to continue to focus on LGBTQI+ rights when allocating subsidies abroad.
IDAHOT provides an ideal opportunity for the diplomatic world to draw attention to LGBTQI+ rights. The diplomatic community in Poland, for example, writes an annual open letter to support the LGBTQI+ community. This year, this initiative is being coordinated by the United States Embassy in Poland. The Diplomatic Representative of Flanders in Warsaw also signed the letter again.