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We are glad to have a progressive federal legislation concerning the rights of LGBT in Belgium. In 2004 the City of Ghent started with a specific policy to support LGBT associations as well as guarantee LGBT rights and freedoms. The City of Ghent was the first city in Belgium to do so. Since 2004 the city has become more and more diverse – in all senses of the word. More diversity requires more tolerance. To fight hatred, misunderstanding, violence, ignorance and indifference a strong, persistent and specific Equal Rights policy is needed. We’re running a marathon, not a sprint. Efforts are still necessary today and will be needed in the future.
Resul Tapmaz, Deputy Mayor of Welfare, Equal Opportunities, Health and Sports

Description of the city

Population: 250.000 inhabitants


Pursue an equal society and acceptance for LGBT cannot be achieved on your own. That is why we are opting for the Rainbow network Ghent – a structural consultation of municipal departments, midfield organizations, the Ghent University, the police, Unia region Ghent and ECM representatives – as the pivot of the Ghent-based LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) policy.

On January 17th 2014, the members of this local network signed the Rainbow Declaration, the basis of an integrated approach of discrimination of LGBT in the city. In line with the six Objectives of the Rainbow Declaration, they will set up actions to transform Ghent into a LGBT-friendly city.

  1. Information and awareness raising of Ghent citizens
  2. Collect knowledge and expertise
  3. Support Ghent LGBT population
  4. Increase equal opportunities and safety in Ghent
  5. Attention for LGBT in the offer and the image
  6. Cooperation with relevant partners and target groups

In the past few years, successful initiatives were set up. Nevertheless, it is obvious that there are still quite some remaining challenges. Hence, the City of Ghent decided to intensify the LGBT policy and elaborate an annual Rainbow action plan on May 17th, with 27 varied actions within multiple domains and focus areas.

Focus areas

  • Safety in the public domain: training for all police officers, hate crime network meeting, awareness campaigns for reporting hate crime, contact point for hate crimes embedded within the police, reference police and justice officers for hate crimes.
  • Sensitizing (youth): providing educational tools for schools, sensitizing theatre plays, setting up Gay Straight Alliances, LGBT Youth Book Month, training of youth soccer coaches.
  • Support of the Ghent LGBT population: subsidies for the regional umbrella organisation, attention for the LGBT’s in the city imaging, subsidies for LGBT activities concerning ethnic cultural diversity, visibility of the rainbow as the symbol of the LGBT community.

Publications and other materials

Educational toolbox: a multimedia booklet and short movies about gender sterotypes and sexual orientation, suited to make the LGBT topic accessible within youngster groups in a fun manner.

Collaboration partners


Sabien Blondeel
City Service for Welfare and equal opportunities