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Antwerp Pride 2023: Expressive Pioneers

With 'Braveolution,' Antwerp Pride celebrates the courage of the LGBTQIA+ community from 9 to 13 August and aims to reflect on how it can turn the city into a place where everyone can be themselves. In a more inclusive society, alongside respect for self-development, there's also room to challenge the norms with your clothing. For this edition, MoMu gives the floor to three young LGBTQIA+ individuals who express themselves through fashion in various ways.

Jordy Arthur Vaesen, Fashion Designer and Content Creator

Jordy Arthur Vaesen
Jordy Arthur Vaesen

"I create fashion like artists write music to release their emotions. It's my language and way of processing things and expressing myself. There has always been something in me that wanted to design more creative, extravagant, and humorous clothing and share it with others. However, in everyday life, I mostly wear 'simple and ordinary clothes.' Not only because I sometimes enjoy creating simple pieces and following certain trends, but also because it's easier. Although I wish it were different and I could always wear what I want, I have come to terms with the fact that I sometimes conform to my surroundings. Because when I walk down the street in 'regular clothes,' I'm not constantly stared at and shouted at. Unfortunately, in daily life, it's not always safe for people who stand out a bit. That's why it's so important that we work towards a safe environment for everyone, both online and in real life. It's great that there are safe spaces where you can be yourself and wear extravagant clothes or not, but the journey there should also be safe. Because being brave doesn't help much if you can be attacked for who you are anytime and anywhere."

Dana Montana, DJ and Performer

Dana Montana
Sieme Hermans

"During performances, I appear as the most exuberant version of myself. At those times, I don't just immerse myself in the music I play, but I also become its visual representation. If I could permanently have a blue or green face, I would probably do that. Because then I would constantly reflect the feeling of not being from this planet to the outside world. It's also important for me to express my gender identity on stage through fashion and makeup. So that other non-binary people feel represented in the music industry and the barrier to that world becomes smaller for them. I struggled with my identity for a long time and went through periods where I rejected anything feminine. Meanwhile, I often return to the colors and patterns that I liked as a child. Nothing is stopping me from wearing those things now as well. I see fashion as an extra layer or dimension that I'm still figuring out what it really means to me. So, offstage, I wear more comfortable clothing, but still with a colorful twist."

Lennie Blockmans, Applied Psychology student and Miss Belgium 2024 candidate

Lennie Blockmans
Lennie Blockmans

"When it comes to fashion, I am quite daring and tend to think quite out of the box. If you can be true to yourself and change your gender, clothing really isn't a big deal anymore. Because as a trans person, you have to overcome many other aspects in your life, those barriers to dressing more exuberantly disappear immediately. Especially when you're still exploring your identity, experimenting with fashion and finding your own style is very enjoyable. In my case, that journey has never stopped. When it comes to self-love and self-respect, I've continued to grow. Now that I feel much more comfortable in my body, I also wear more revealing clothing more often. My growth process is independent of fashion trends; it follows how I evolve as a person. Fashion works in two directions for me. When I'm not feeling great and I put on something cheerful, I always feel a bit better. And when I'm doing well mentally, I feel comfortable even in a simple outfit. Knowing that I don't need extravagant clothing to feel good actually makes me more confident on such days. But I am not what I wear, and what I wear is not who I am. My outfits are a lovely bonus."

For more info on Antwerp Pride, please see