Antwerp Pride: a colorful report
Last week Antwerp transformed into one big, vibrant rainbow during Antwerp Pride and our locals Vincent and Ikram were there to witness it. A report filled with love, colors and Wurst!
Ikram: “It all started with a true Friday folly. Normally I spend my Fridays glued to my couch and surrounded by diabetes inducing kinds of food. But I pulled myself together, put on some nice clothes and made my way out the door. I swear I could hear the couch whisper my name on my way out.
Once I made it to Theaterplein, the rainbow flag was clearly dominating the square. At the beats of Mønøtøn DJ’s I danced off last week’s working stress while my eyes were dazzling by all the rainbow lights and glitter outfits. There was a strong vibe of freedom surrounding me. And the various kinds of people I saw were as different as the colours of a rainbow. Whether you where dressed in glitter, just jeans or heels higher then our beloved cathedral, everybody was radiating: it’s frigay, but that’s totally okay!
When Vincent told me he had to go home and change for an act he was going to perform later on, I did not expect what was coming next. Fiercer than Beyoncé on a good day, Vincent came walking through the crowd dressed in a gown made by Jonas, on heels that would make me end up in the emergency room for sure. And boy, what a performance he gave. Committed to his act throughout the whole set of Mønøtøn DJ’s he busted some moves that made me question my own femininity. Hands down to Vincent.
I love somebody
In the company of Vincent, Jonas and a few new friends I made the night before I walked for the very first time in the Antwerp Pride Parade the next day. We walked alongside the Partytrashers and I was probably smiling from ear to ear the entire time. The colours, the captivating feeling of acceptance, the laughter and fun, it was completely amazing. At a given moment, I felt somebody sticking something on my bag and turned around. A boy smiled at me while sticking a sticker with the words ‘I love girls’ on my bag. As I explained to him I loved boys instead, he carefully removed the sticker and stuck the one with ‘I love boys’ on my bag. He smiled and said: “as long as you love somebody, it’s all fine”. That sentence stuck with me the entire day.
I’m so very grateful to Vincent and Jonas for guiding me through this new experience. Who knows, maybe next year I’ll even dress up!”
Wigs, masks and high heels
Vincent: “First of all: shoutout and to my fab friends of the Partytrashers for an unforgettable time at the parade and to Ikram for letting us look through her eyes and camera lens. By the way, you can see the Partytrashers perform at my party Drag Delight, August 29th at Kavka, Antwerp!
Performing with a wig, a mask, high heels and a body suit with a train - in front of thousands of people - is something I’ll never forget. Though I was sweating like a hooker in church, the adrenaline rush and reactions made it all worthwhile.
I spotted all the colors of the rainbow flag through the little holes in my mask: lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people (the ‘classic’ LGBT), but also queer, asexual and polyamorous people were represented. And, according to several news sources, there have never been so many straight friends and family members supporting the Antwerp Pride parade. Pretty good news, if you ask me.
Little sidenote: I personally haven’t seen a representation of intersexuality. I hope they also got a moment during the Pride. If you want to know more about intersexuality, click here.
After the parade I got myself back into boy clothes and went to Wave Festival, the Antwerp Pride party by the riverside. One of Antwerp’s assets is that you often bump into someone you know, especially on events like these. Within five minutes we had our party squad in front of the DJ booth, which was clearly inspired by the Steen castle in the background. We had an absolute blast, as you will be able to see in the video report I'm working on. I also made some new friends, as one does when open minds meet Belgian beer. In the end an awesome lesbian couple from the Netherlands crashed on our couch and continued celebrating with us the next day.
A Conchita kind of Sunday
On Sunday my friends and I went to the closing festival at ‘Grote Markt’, the main square in front of town hall. Unfortunately Ikram was not feeling well and had to stay home. The square was packed with people, but we managed to find our party squad from the other day. There were lots of local and international names on the lineup, but the singer on everybody’s mind was Conchita Wurst. In case you don’t know, Conchita Wurst is the winner of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest and a cross-dressing artist who looks like a beautiful woman with a beard. Her song ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ was the perfect song to close the Antwerp Pride 2015 officially.
However, that didn’t hold us back to go to three after parties. Drag queen performances at Terrazza, a block party with the lesbian DJ duo from Antwerp ‘De Draaiende Dozen’ and the Drama Queen party in front of the (in)famous Bonaparte gay bar. My boyfriend and I basically closed that party and then there was no denying: the Antwerp Pride 2015 was over…”