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Letter from Brussels: Election Fever

by De Ket in Columns & Opinions , 27 februari 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

In Belgium, the next municipal elections will take place on October 14. Perhaps not that important, you might think, but they will say something about the results of the next national elections in 2019. Left-wing versus right-wing (or vice-versa), just as in the Netherlands. There is no place in the elections for moderate opinions and election promises, even at a local and municipal level. The fight for a seat on the city council will be with boxing gloves on.

In the region Brussels, there are nineteen municipalities for which new aldermen and women need to be elected. Fortunately, there are quite some homosexual candidates. With the exception of some, they are mostly openly gay. Some will undoubtedly run again in the next elections.

Strangely enough, all known gay candidates for Brussels have one thing in common, namely that you never see them or hear from them in the first thirty-six months of their mandate. They do not surface in a local gay minded bar or restaurant. They perhaps make a statement to the press during the Gay Pride. But that’s it.

Of course, that is their prerogative. They were given a mandate from the electorate. Their program and/or political party has a wider appeal and reach than just the gay community, nor does it only address themes that concern our community.

But after that period of thirty-six months, during election time, you suddenly see them popping up everywhere in gay bars or on social media. As if they never left. With a broad smile, they shake hands. All of a sudden you get a friendship request on Facebook from their profile as a politician. They speak to you as if you go way back. They generously buy drinks in bars, and stress you may also order a gin-tonic instead of a beer. Gays as voting cattle for a change.

That is their prerogative as well, emerging only when votes have to be recruited. But it is my prerogative to ignore them, to address them if necessary, and above all to ask friends and acquaintances to certainly not vote for them. Fortunately, most of my friends and acquaintances are smart enough not to fall for their tricks. However, I cannot help but to repeat my message once in a while. I want to make sure they will not get elected.

One of the Brussel-City councillors even stopped trying to press-gang the gay vote completely. He thinks he is far too superior to mix with the gays, and is full of “dédain” about gays who are into the gay scene. This “dédain” or condescending attitude pops up when that person has some drinks in a straight bar in Brussels. At times, the bar is visited by gays who overhear things and spill the beans. As he himself is not recruiting - he thinks he is too good for this - he hires beautiful boys to do his dirty work, promising this and that if he gets elected. But, you’ve guessed as much, he dumps them after the election, along with his promises. The combination of “good looks” and “being smart” is not bestowed upon each and every one.

And yes, he may yet again be a candidate for Brussel-City. Whether he will get enough votes this time remains to be seen. He will certainly not get my vote, and I will do everything in my power to make sure other voters will not fall for it. He’s warned!

Yours sincerely,

De Ket




In the New Issue of Gay News, 335, July 2019

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