Dimitri Vantomme (39), also known as Dimitri D’Anvers, has been running Bonaparte, the karaoke bar in the heart of Antwerp for twenty years, and has been a sponsor of the Antwerp Pride for ten years. A Pride that is walked by thousands of LGBs every year as gratitude for the rights they finally received. But also to reflect on the countries that have still not accepted LGBs in their community.
We still hear it too often. Countries where LGBs are fined even to the death penalty because of their sexual preference. There are no rights for them there. They have to fight against their so-called “unnatural pleasures”. Dimitri himself came out at the age of seventeen and agrees that there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of rights for LGBs. “In Belgium, we are already much further in that area than in other countries, for example. So it is actually a feast as gratitude, but also to think about LGBs in other countries that do not yet have those rights. The Gay Prides therefore remain really necessary. I have already played as a DJ on Gay Prides in many countries, but I must say that the Antwerp Pride stands out in terms of atmosphere. People come together there to build bridges between the different communities. There are not only LGBs, but also people who want to participate in human rights. ”
Apart from a super fun festival, the Pride is a gathering where social themes are highlighted that are not only related to LGBs, but with human rights in general “If I see how many people we can move, how much we can put in such a Pride that is put on the political agenda, that’s the best thing there is. A small group of people who can defend big things. ”
Nevertheless, the Gay Prides also get a lot of headwind. According to some people, such Prides attract attention. “The world has become social media, where everyone wants to express their unsolicited opinion. The most important thing is that you get people moving. I am convinced that all negative things end in a positive way. I invite everyone who has a negative comment to take a seat in our Gay Pride and see for yourself how hot the festival is. ”
What many people still have trouble with is adopting an attitude when someone comes out of their closet. The weirdest questions then arise. Usually well-intentioned, but completely out of place. “I continue to find it striking that people highlight several times that they are faded, that I am gay. They have the stereotypical image of gays that are slightly more feminine and I do not meet that. Just as with heterosexuals you have cooler and softer men, so also with LGBs. The most terrible question we can get is “who is the man and who is the woman?” That is the same as when you ask the Chinese “which stick is the fork and which is the knife?”
Dimitri changes Bonaparte for the Antwerp Pride in the Rainbow Bar where you can go to a different theme event every night. So definitely check it out! Especially for you, he also gives a route plan of his favorite events on the Antwerp Pride that you should definitely not miss.
Wednesday, August 8
Tranny-Oke @ Bonaparte – Grote Markt – Antwerp
“We are hosting one of the first events during the Pride this year with Bonaparte. For the fifth time we are organizing this evening with Sally Monella, who is the star that night, the DJ and the jury member! Can not be missed!’
Thursday 9 August
Midsummer party – Draakplein – Antwerp
“An open-air party organized by our colleagues from Café Den Draak together with The Pink House! Every year it is a super fun atmosphere, even when it rains, because then the more than a thousand attendees crawl close to each other under the bridge of the Draakplein. ”
Friday, August 10
De Pride Games en Roof of Love – Theaterplein – Antwerp
“I think we should always try something new; a sporting event in which teams of various backgrounds compete against each other. It starts in the afternoon and lasts until late, because I’m allowed to play records with DJ Joey. ”
Saturday, August 11
The Antwerp Pride Parade and the Love United festival – through the city and on Steenplein – Antwerp (1 p.m. – 11 p.m.)
“On Saturday we walk through the streets of Antwerp with thousands of people to celebrate what rights we have already acquired as LGBTQs, but we also call attention to the countries where they do not yet have those rights. Because, of course, we love having a great party, lots of party concepts are joining forces to give the Love United Festival extra color. ”
Sunday, August 12
Antwerp Pride Closing Festival – Steenplein – Antwerp (13.30 – 18.00 uur)
“Among other things due to the works on the Town Hall, the eighth edition of this closing event takes place on Steenplein. The recipe remains unchanged: a super strong live band accompanies national and international artists in one dazzling show! Dancing and singing and all that. One of the highlights of the Antwerp Pride every year! ”
– The interview with Dimitri Vantomme can be found in edition 11. Don’t miss a single issue? Subscribe now to The Gay Issue!