"The LGBTQIA+ community is beautiful and I want to defend it at all costs", Charlotte (25)
Charlotte (25), a proud lesbian woman, has been working for three years as a volunteer at Rainbow House in Brussels and is president of the student association 'Chelln' in Louvain-La-Neuve. Recently she participated in the project 'INVERTIES - Amour entre femmes' where she shines alongside 11 other queer women in a beautiful photo exhibition by Ophélie Longuepee.
Over the past few weeks I've talked to Charlotte about her work as a militant for queer and women's rights. What struck me most was her urge to change things and her passion for volunteering. Our conversations were so interesting and I probably can't write everything down, but I have written down the most important answers to my questions below:
Do you often get negative reactions to what you do?
I often hear that I have to stop nagging and that lesbians and/or queer women aren't having such a bad time today. Yes, a number of things have already changed, but we're still a long way from where we should be. Today you can find the great danger outside, on the streets. As a woman I can't go out on the streets without being whistled at or shouted with curse words. And sometimes it doesn't stop there. I can't walk down the street hand in hand with my girlfriend at all, and that's a problem!
Then I realise over and over again that my cause is justified and as long as we can't walk the streets without people staring, making fun of us or trying to shut us down, I don't give up!
As long as we can't walk the streets without people staring, making fun of us or trying to shut us down, I don't give up!
Are you a feminist?
I am first and foremost a woman and defend the interests of women in general. So I'm definitely a feminist. But my struggle goes beyond the interests of women as a whole. I want to be a voice for all women: women of colour, transgender women and all queer women. Society still invisibilises (queer) women too much and I want to show that they are beautiful, strong and powerful. The LGBTQIA+ community is beautiful and I want to defend it at all costs.
When did you start your mission?
In fact, I had been defending women's rights for some time now, even though I didn't realise that myself at the time. It wasn't until later, when I met former teachers who told me about my actions, that I got reactions like: "you were always committed, weren't you? »
Because I started working at the Rainbow House and became president of Chelln I have met so many fantastic and beautiful people. Their stories sometimes really hurt me and made me really angry! I'm glad that with this work I can use the anger I have in me, positively, to change something.
I'm glad that with this work I can use the anger I have in me, positively, to change something.
You can be seen as one of the eleven faces of the photo exhibition 'INVERTIES'. How does it feel to be part of that?
This exhibition, we've been waiting for it for so long. It is so important to see lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, queers happy and blossoming. They understand, share their fears, their doubts, their joys, and, above all, they learn to talk about their sexuality without filtering it out. It was an incredibly beautiful moment during the shoot. I'm really glad that I got the chance to participate in it.
Meanwhile Charlotte is preparing for the PRIDE week of 2020 in Brussels together with the Rainbow House. Also for the beginning of next year some other manifestations and actions are planned. You can still visit the exhibition 'INVERTIES' during the months of March and April at the Rainbow House Brussels.