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Belgium’s gay Prime Minister: My country has become less not more tolerant

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  1. I live in Belgium, I dont like the politics, but have seen the marriage laws changed, and you know what.. nothing changed at all. The sky didnt fall, the birthrate didnt drop, Kids didnt get molested (well the ones in the church did, but thats old news). Life just went on. And they did it with no fuss, they changed a few words here and there, and no one needed to get their smalls in a knot. Guess the english and the Germans and all those still farting around the bush could learn a thing or two about this messed up Little Country I call home.

    1. Robert (Kettering) 6 Dec 2012, 5:40pm

      I have to agree with you. I was in Belgium, Genk, twice this year having surgery and found the people charming and friendly. Why the UK just can’t tell the church to p*ss off and mind their own business I don’t know. I could live in Belgium myself.

    2. Golly! And I thought they were (still) stuck with Yves Leterme! lol

      I love Belgium, having lived in Weerde/Zemst in the 1990s, and would happily go back there. It is a wonderful, tolerant place. Every visit leaves a happy memory in my head.

      When times are hard, people hark back to the past, when social attitudes were very different. It’s something to cling on to when there is fear and uncertainty to deal with. That is not an excuse for homophobia, though, and by keeping awareness up, I am sure that this amazing country will pull through.

  2. Can’t be that intolerant if he was sworn in under a coalition including christians.

    1. Belgium is a very secular country. There’s a big difference between “Christians” over here and in the UK. The Christian Party (CD&V on the Flemish side) is pro gay equality, gay marriage, etc.

  3. Of course Belgium has become less tolerant over the last few years.

    So has Britain.

    In times of economic crisis people like having a scapegoat to kick

    Look to Greece and the rise of the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party for the extreme example of this.

    1. You’re perfectly right. But it is not just that. Belgium has seen in recent years an ever growing immigrant population and 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants. They are clearly many rational and tolerant people amongst them. But alas a large and perhaps increasingly extremist and homophobic contingent. In Brussels many of the recent homophobic incidents were carried out by such people. And I can attest that me and my husband have had a number of verbal attacks.

      1. Belgium is no different from the rest of Europe (including Britain) in that regard.

        And of course along with gay people, in times of economic crisis, immigrants also become scapegoats, as you so visibly attest to.

        Belgium is still a far better place to be gay than Britain.

        For a start they are are not 2nd class citizens like we are in Britain,.

  4. I think the whole world is getting less tolerant each day. People nowadays are more eager to blame others for every problem in the world and minorities are always the best scapegoats, be them LGBT people, illegal immigrants, Muslims, Jews, gypsies, atheists, or whichever group they choose. If they are a completely different group from you they must be evil, and thus intolerance, bigotry and hate against them becomes a moral duty.

  5. I had no idea the PM of Belgium was gay; and I only found out very recently that the PM of Iceland is gay.

    Perhaps the fact this information has received such little attention in the UK attests to how progressive society has become: perhaps it is seen as so ordinary as to not be newsworthy.

    If so, I have to disagree. There are many who could not ever imagine an LGBT politician, no matter how gifted, being the PM of the UK. But why shouldn’t they be? And why shouldn’t the fact there are LGBT PMs of Belgium and Iceland be publicised here to get people to challenge their prejudices?

    For goodness’ sake, you even find unmarried (straight) politicians here getting married because they believe they have no chance of becoming PM otherwise.

    It is time for homophobic prejudices in the UK to be challenged, and for the politicians and political parties who collude with them to cut it out and put fairness and equality before their own conformist political ambitions.

  6. I’m not so sure my country became less tolerant. Sure, there are more reports of homophobic violence, but wouldn’t that be because it gets reported more often? And because gay people are in general less shy to show themselves?

    When I talk with friends that are 10 years older than me, I hear them saying that they wouldn’t even have thought about walking hand in hand when they were younger. Young people nowadays do it relatively often.(good!), which will naturally cause more reactions from homophobic scum.

    It’s ignorant and even offensive to deny that lots of work is still needed within certain communities, especially the Muslim one. But most of them were here 15 years ago as well. I’m sure that the percentage of integrated Muslims that approve of gay people is a lot higher now than 15 years ago.

    1. Don’t be too sure. In a 2009 poll about tolerance to same sex relationships there were some pleasantly surprising results. However, in the UK not ONE SINGLE person identifying as Muslim said homosexuality was morally acceptable. The score was better in France and Germany – I don’t know of the results for Belgium. Pretty shocking though!
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/may/07/muslims-britain-france-germany-homosexuality

  7. He told Belgian newspaper De Morgen: “I feel that different groups in our country are opposed to freedom.

    *cough*Muslims*cough*

  8. Hysterical Screamer No. 243 7 Dec 2012, 1:11pm

    He’s an atheist: GREAT!
    He’s a rationalist: GREAT!
    He’s a free mason: OH DEAR!

    Free Masons have a whole world of invented mumbo-jumbo of their own. Very sorry to hear he’s into it.

  9. The Flemish government has gay minister of education, and almost every political party has openly gay members of parliament. Quite some ‘BV’s (: bekende vlamingen, translates as Well known Femish Citizens) who turn up in all kinds of shows, articles and manifestations are openly gay. So far for the good news from Belgium.

    Recent incidents of anti gay violence or tensions have come from second generation immigrants, but definitely not exclusively.

    The already discussed gay minister of education is trying to modify the list of monimal knowledge abd skills pupils should acquire at schools, to include lessons on gay equality and tolerance. These lessons will be compulsory and given throughout the educational system, although it is not clear yet to me in the framework of what lessons this will be included at what age levels.

    Just a small update from Belgium

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