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Letter from Brussels: In the Media

by De Ket in Columns & Opinions , 24 juni 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Dear Neighbors to the North, It is time for the first media review of 2018, with quotes from well-known or lesser-known Belgians - whether or not GLBTQ - about (homo) sexuality in the broadest sense of the word, and recorded in Flemish media.

Abdellah Bijat“They tell me I’m not a true Muslim, but the Koran does not forbid homosexuality.” (Finalist Mister Gay, Abdellah Bijat, in “Het Nieuwsblad.”)

“Over 29% of Flemish people want to ‘program’ the orientation of their offspring.” (One of the results of a survey commissioned by Flemish TV program “Gert Late Night,” on

“For heterosexuals, finding happiness is easier.” (Columnist Fernand Van Damme, gay, in “De Morgen.”)

Jani Kazaltzis“I am a homosexual, which is incomprehensible to many people, but I don’t hurt anyone with that. I find it horrible that in this world, there are still people who can’t be themselves. Many women have to deal with this as well. Everyone is played out against each other, but by doing so, we fuck up ourselves and take our own freedom away.” (Flemish TV presenter Jani Kazaltzis, about the plans for his new TV program about transsexuals, gay cowboys, polygamists, and everyone who shows some form of deviant behaviour, in “Het Laatste Nieuws.”)

“We make it difficult for ourselves. We only let people get married if they have a high matching score. GLBIs also registered, but unfortunately their match score was not sufficient. It wouldn’t be right to let them marry just for the sake of diversity.” (Response of VTM spokesperson Sara Vercauteren on the criticism why no gay candidates participated in the program “Blind getrouwd,” op

“A 58-year-old famous Fleming coming out is not something that happens daily. It should be a non-issue, just like homosexuality is today. I’d prefer to see it as normal.” (Professor of transgender and plastic surgery Stan Monstrey, in response to the coming-out as transgender of Flemish TV journalist Boudewijn Van Spilbeeck.)

Peter Van de Veire“I’m going to live together with my girlfriend. Being lesbian is seen as sporty, contrary to being gay.” (Coming-out of the promising Flemish tennis player Alison Van Uytvanck, in “De Standaard.”)

“I blame it on my basic hygiene. I think I am slightly more hygienic than the average guy.” (Radio presenter Peter Van de Veire tries to give a possible reason why people often think he is gay, in the radio program “Nieuwe Feiten.”)

“He could no longer cope with the disappointments. He did not understand why he was still called ‘madam’.” (Reaction of the mother of Mats De Leender, an eighteen-year-old transman from Antwerp, after he committed suicide, in “De Morgen.”)

“In the nursing home they know that I am gay, but we never talk about it.” (The eighty-eight-year-old André Oosterlinck, about the homosexuality taboo in nursing homes, in “Het Nieuwsblad.”)

Belgian cardinal Jozef De Kesel“Eeyy faggot. Why don’t u go to Saudi Arabia to defend gays? Are u scared to get your head cut off? Don’t be too happy tough, you’re not safe in Belgium either. I have informed my Armenian friends from Belgium to look for you. (VUB Master’s student Rémy Bonny, who is writing his thesis on the position of the GLBT community in post-Soviet states, received several threats via Instagram, in “De Morgen.”)

“The Church should show more respect to the sexuality of homosexuals.” (Belgian cardinal Jozef De Kesel, in the “Gazet van Antwerpen.”)

“At open-minded universities such as the ULB and the VUB, it is not the intention to hide your love.” (VUB headmaster Caroline Pauwels explains why this year, both universities are participating in Belgian Pride in Brussels, on May 19.)

Yours sincerely,

De Ket




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

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