We fight for equality and tolerance for LGBTIQ+ people in Europe
meet the executive director of forbidden colours NPO
Advocating for a Europe free of LGBTIQ+ hate
Forbidden Colours NPO
During my many researches and advocacy work in Eastern Europe, I started understanding the privileged position I was living as a Belgian LGBTIQ+ person. Too many LGBTIQ+ people still have to live in the closet in our European Union. Many of my friends in Poland and Hungary had suicide attempts when they were teenagers. Hearing their stories breaks my heart every time. My life’s work is making sure that the stories of the many LGBTIQ+ teenagers that lost their life will never be forgotten.
Being a representative of our diverse community is the biggest honour of my life. From rural villages in Georgia, Ukraine or Poland to the corridors of power in Brussels and Washington, our struggle for equality is what drives me day and night.
With Forbidden Colours, I am at the disposal of the European LGBTIQ+ communities. With making the LGBTIQ+ movement more self-sustainable all around Europe, we want LGBTIQ+ people to create their own path towards equality and success.
Outreach & Policy Officer
Forbidden Colours NPO
Vincent Reillon, PhD
Trained as a physicist specialised in iridescent colours, I learned a lot about rainbows. Yet, my coming out opened the doors of a new rainbow world. A safe space in which I healed from the guilt, the shame and the fear that growing gay in an cisheteronormative world had infused me with. It became obvious to me that I wanted to act and engage to make sure no LGBTIQ+ people would never have to go through that kind of trauma anymore.
Within Forbidden Colours, I bring my experience as a former researcher, analyst, and diplomat in EU policy to try and secure LGBTIQ+ people’s access to their human rights. A humongous challenge, even given the progress of the last 20 years. But a mission that I embrace with enthusiasm and determination.
meet the board of founders
Discover our story and the reason why we created Forbidden Colours
Communications Director, Automotive
I’m grateful that my family, friends and colleagues never question or judge my homosexuality and accept me and my husband for who we are. I know many people fought for the rights we have today and I think it is the responsibility of those who live in freedom to continue the fight for equal rights for all LGBTIQ+ people for whom their sexual identity still is a struggle.
Too many LGBTIQ+ people still face discrimination, prosecution, exclusion, torture and even execution. Therefore I want to thank the founding members, members of the steering committee, all our ambassadors and people who support Forbidden Colours in our mission to make the world a better place for all LGBTIQ+ people.
Speaker & Executive Creative Director
Speaker & Executive Creative Director
Benoit Van- cauwenberghe
I am 41 years of age and have been married to the man of my life for 20 years now. My family has always supported us and I was able to get the job of my dreams. I am one of the lucky few because my life could have taken a very different turn. 2500 kilometres away from here, outing yourself as LGBTIQ+ results in jail time without a trial. A 2-hour flight away from Brussels, people get beaten to death for holding hands with the one they love.
2 streets from where you live, people could be banned from their homes because they are seen as abnormal by their families.
Silence is no longer an option. While I am blessed to be able to live my life as the person I am and want to be, others live theirs in fear. No one deserves a life consisting of denial, lying to yourself and trying to be someone else. It’s my turn to help others claim their identity because everyone is worth fighting for. Forbidden Colours is about encouragement, about embracing yourself and being proud of who you are.
We know there will not be a magic day when every identity is suddenly accepted but by showing our true colours with pride, we will get as close to that day as possible.
Architect and founder of Arcanne
We’re all different. We’re all the same. We’re all abnormal. We’re all normal. Being gay has become for me a non-subject, thanks to my family, my friends, my city. I’m conscious that this privilege is fragile and I want to commit myself to the defence of those everywhere in the world who still have to fight for who they are. Through my commitment, I want those who point fingers to question their own morality.
Art22 Gallery founder
Being happy with my own difference and able to express myself freely in my professional and private life have always been a goal in itself. I grew up in a rather tolerant environment where conflict called for dialogue, even though homosexuality was something new to be tamed, easily or with difficulty, for those around me.
When I made my coming out, someone close to me made the essential decision to change her sexual identity. During our respective journeys as “battle companions”, I have come to see the extent to which an assumed sexual identity is key to one’s life, whatever the price to pay, despite the “battles” that shouldn’t even exist in contemporary society in the first place.
Forbidden Colours is above all a noble and indispensable mission aiming for tolerance, respect for oneself and for others, in other words, the foundations of a just and altruistic society. I know how fortunate I am to live in agreement with an identity that is my own. Today I want the fair return of this fortune in line with the essence of one’s existence, i.e. a free and normal identity. What good would life be if philanthropy and altruism were to fail it?
Peter de Caluwe
Equal rights are the basis of living together in harmony. It has always been my adagio that every human being deserves the same rights as those I dare claim for myself… .
Where this moral basis of democracy is now widely accepted, it is still different when it comes to LGBTIQ+ rights. Not everyone understands that sexual choices are a choice of identity and self-respect and that others have no right to claim anything as regards another person’s affections.
Already from a very young age I have been active as a conscientious objector and gay rights activist, not in an aggressive or provocative way but just by walking the talk about living together in peace and respecting others for who they are. I also try to set an example as a gay man with a publicly respected private and professional profile, showing tolerance for all opinions, except intolerance. It is this intolerance our projects want to address. Too many youngsters are forced to keep secret about their identity. Forbidden Colours wants to help them to fully accept their sexual identity.
Noble Purpose entrepreneur & activist
From a very young adult age I adopted the attitude “If you have a problem with me being gay, that tells more about your limitations than about me being the human being I was born!” My homosexuality has never prevented me from doing what I wanted to do, from being aware and from becoming successful.
I find it essential that all gay men and women, human beings like anybody else, can live the life they want to live, without having to fear of being discriminated, being pointed at, put in jail or killed. I want any gay man or woman to enjoy the same freedom. It is part of my purpose in life to help others to live without boundaries or limitations, to be respected for who they are, getting the same opportunities as anybody else without suffering injustice or discrimination.
active members of the steering committee
Trainer & coach
Hello, my name is Leonie Nelissen. I’ve been an LGBTIQ+ activist for over 15 years. Among other things, I was at the cradle of the introduction of the law on automatic co-parenting. In recent years, the laws for which our community has fought so hard, have been under increasing pressure. It is important that we, together with our allies and sympathisers, guard and defend our rights. I am proud to be an ambassador of Forbidden Colours, an initiative that aims to support projects that promote the well-being and empowerment of the LGBTIQ+ community. Together we can send out a strong message.
Film director and screenwriter
I am Lukas Dhont, ambassador of Forbidden Colours. For me, Forbidden Colours is a way to support a cause that is very close to my heart. An ambition to support initiatives that can make a change. A desire for equality.
King Baudouin Foundation
Stefan Schaefers, director of the Forbidden Colours fund at the KBF
Forbidden Colours exists thanks to the support of these wonderful people
Many people : one
team one purpose
Our purpose is to create a better world for LGBTI people in which they can live in freedom with self-respect and dignity.
Forbidden Colours is a group of like-minded people who voluntarily strive to attain the same goal by putting their individual interests aside and without any kind of financial benefits.