17 May – BOZAR & The colors of the rainbow


  1. Introduction: The Centre for Fine Arts, gender and LGBTIQ.

(Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans-sexual, Intersex and Questioning).

As part of its international mission, the Centre for Fine Arts Brussels (BOZAR) aims to show and establish exchange with cultures from all over the world, to promote cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue and to advocate the role of culture as a catalyst for creativity.

BOZAR does not only show art for art’s sake. We believe in debate, and in the community building capacity of the arts. As a cultural organization with a large variety of artistic disciplines ranging from literature and music to discussion platforms, we have always strived to offer a programme that is highly ranked on an artistic level but at the same time widely accessible to our 1.3 million visitors per year. In doing so, the CFA aims to reflect the multi-cultural reality of the hyper-diverse city of Brussels. We have had the honour of welcoming personalities such as Salman Rushdie, Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama. Exceptional events like these have only solidified our involvement in social and political issues as well as our leading cultural role in Belgium.


We aim to combine art and society to offer a nuanced vision.

In 2014, the central Summer of Photography exhibition at the Centre for Fine Arts examined the role of female artists in the second wave of feminism, WOMAN: The Feminist Avant-Garde of the1970s: Works from the SAMMUNG VERBUND, Vienna curated by Gabriele Schor.

Initially, it was Europe and the United States that set the tone, but today’s struggle for woman’s rights is worldwide. New topics present themselves in the gender debate: the representation of women on the internet, the right of lesbian women to have children, women’s rights in other cultures and so on.

In 2015, after the dramatic attacks on freedom of expression in Paris, Copenhagen and Dhaka, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, BOZAR organized its first Difference Day together with The Brussels Platform for Journalism, a joint initiative involving Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Erasmushogeschool Brussel (EHB), the Evens Foundation and iMinds.

Freedom of expression also implies respect for the opinion of others and the recognition of diversity.

Picture: Ludovic Bertron, from New York City, Usa, via Wikimedia Commons

BOZAR has also been focusing more on LGTBIQ questions recently. In December 2016, we had a study day about stereotypes on television with the University of Leuven as a partner. We discussed to what extent television confirms and challenges social stereotypes. Several international speakers hosted discussion sessions afterwards, where one in particular (Frederik Dhaenens) talked about the diverse ways LGBTIQ characters can be represented in the media.

May 2017, for the very first time, the much talked about IDAHOT Forum is coming to Brussels, on 18 and 19 May 2017. At this conference, politicians, policy-makers, poets and thinkers draw up the State of the Union of LGBTIQ rights in Europe. This year, its main focus will be “families”.

The conference follows the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on 17 May, on May 20th the Belgian Pride parade marches through Brussels from the point of departure at the Kuntsberg/Mont des Arts. All good reasons for BOZAR to put the spotlight on LGBTIQ rights.


  1. International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

This day is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 countries where same-sex acts are illegal, with 1600 events reported from 1280 organizations in 2014. These mobilizations unite millions of people in support of the recognition of human rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

It is not one centralized campaign, but a momentum that forms the basis of many individual initiatives that take place annually around the globe . May 17th was chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.






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