It’s important all inhabitants of our town feel involved and accepted for who they are. Sexual orientation or gender identity can be freely expressed and may not stand in the way of full citizenship.
Denise Vandevoort, Alderman

Description of the city

Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in Belgium. It is located about 25 kilometres east of Brussels. It is the 10th largest municipality in Belgium with approximately 100.000 inhabitants. Leuven is home to the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the largest and oldest university of Belgium and the oldest catholic university still in existence. The city has a large student population.


The city aims to involve the ‘LGBTI community’ in all actions taken in the field of LGTBI policies. The LGTBI community is actively involved and participates in the process of policy making. The Leuven and provincial LGTBI community is organised under the umbrella of the Rainbow House: an open house for sexual and gender diversity. Every trimester an umbrella meeting is being held, where all the LGTBI organisations allied with the Rainbow House are present, as well as  representatives of the city and of the provincial administration.


The city of Leuven implements the Human Right Treaty and the anti-discrimination law in its local policy making process. Freedom of reproductive and sexual rights is a universal human right recognised in the Human Right Treaty. The anti-discrimination law considers sexual orientation and gender expression as a legal ground to act against violation of this law. The LGTBI policy of Leuven prioritizes and ensures LGTBI policy making. The city council is responsible for: education, social welfare, safety, anti-discrimination, diversity and equal opportunities, culture.....This policy has been adopted since 1997. In 1998 the first LGTB agenda was presented and accepted by the city council of Leuven.

Focus areas

  • On Sunday 7 May 2017, the City of Leuven celebrated, together with the Rainbow House Vlaams-Brabant the International Rainbow Family day. It was the first time we took this initiative and we started small, but beautiful.
  • The theme of 2017 for the City of Leuven and the Rainbow House is to open up the elderly care services for gender diversity and LGBTIQ identity. Elderly care organisations and institutes are still not enough aware about the fact that LGTBIQ seniors are also part of their clientèle. April 21 we had a successful meeting with the NGO elderly care organisations who give care at the seniors residences. In November 2017 we will have a movie afternoon on the LGBTIQ theme during the International week of the senior citizen. After the movie the Leuven LGBTIQ senior grassroots organisations will have a debate about the movie with the audience.
  • Local policy making on safety for LGTBI in the public environment.
  • Education of the police force on handling reporting LGTBI complaints and developing guide lines for police staff and policemen.
  • Promoting LGTBI tolerance and acceptance in schools.
  • Focus on sexual and gender diversity as a normality in the community.
  • Promoting a LGTBI tolerant sport environment.
  • Visibility of LGTBI in art and culture.
  • Yearly LGTBI movie festival: three weeks in November.
  • Yearly Pride festival with different visibility actions.
  • Yearly Remembrance day in November with visibility actions.
  • Yearly Aids campaign in collaboration with health care institutions.
  • International exchange of good practices and support for LGTBI organisations in countries where the acceptance is still very precarious.
  • Support of transgender employees in the city administration.
  • Equal rights for parental leave for LGTBI employees of the city administration.
  • Attention for LGTBI friendly language in the city administration.

Please see our facebook page for all past en upcoming events in Leuven.

Collaboration partners

Youth work, health care facilities, local Welfare Services, UNIA (discrimination Complaint Office), Primary and secondary schools, University (KU Leuven), Public libraries, Diversity and equal opportunity department, province Vlaams-Brabant, International student groups, Flemish government,  Federal Institute for Gender Equality. Rainbowhouse Leuven and Vlaams-Brabant: umbrella for all LGTBI interest groups and activities. Municipalities, ministries and research institutes.

Photo credit: city of Leuven.