A Celebration of Courage: Chille Deman Receives Citizen Medal from the City of Brussels

In a heartwarming ceremony held on May 17th, the International Day Against Homophobia, the City of Brussels awarded Chille Deman the prestigious Citizen Medal. The event, brimming with emotion and pride, took place in the Council Chamber of Brussels, where Mayor Philippe Close presented the medal, surrounded by aldermen and a host of invited guests.

Chille Deman, a beacon of LGBTQIA+ activism in Brussels, was recognized for his groundbreaking contributions as the co-founder and leader of the Belgian Lesbian and Gay Pride. Since its humble beginnings in 1996, with just 3,500 participants, the parade has blossomed under Chille’s guidance. This year, it drew over 200,000 people, becoming a powerful symbol of diversity and inclusion. Chille’s leadership has not only strengthened the ties between French and Dutch-speaking communities but also fostered a spirit of constructive and compassionate dialogue.

Beyond his local influence, Chille has made waves internationally through his work with RainbowFriends and Rainbow Ambassadors, advocating for the rights and well-being of LGBTQIA+ seniors in often hostile environments. His efforts at the EuroPride in Riga stand out, where his dialogues with local and international stakeholders ensured the event’s success and safety.

The nomination for Chille’s medal came from the board of the Visite Particulière association, highlighting his lasting impact on Brussels. His inclusive leadership and unwavering commitment to social justice resonate deeply with the values that Brussels upholds.

The medal ceremony saw an emotional gathering of city officials, members of Visite Particulière, but also members of Rainbow ambassadors, Rainbow friends association and many of Chille’s friends. The room was filled with gratitude and respect, reflecting the profound and positive influence Chille has had on the community.

Following the ceremony, guests were invited to a celebratory cocktail at Restaurant 58, offering panoramic views of Brussels. The event provided a joyous and convivial atmosphere to honor Chille’s dedication and achievements.

By honoring Chille Deman, the City of Brussels reaffirms its steadfast support for diversity, inclusion, and human rights, celebrating those who tirelessly work towards a more just and equitable society.

pictures by Eve-Anne