Brussels Almanack Lesbian
Digging up radical spaces from our pasts
Tracing polyphonic lesbian herstories
— from Brussels and beyond, between 1953 and 2003
This publication gather fragments of histories made by lesbians rather than history that happened to lesbians. Uncovered from Belgium’s grass-roots archives with added oral herstories, it is a patchwork based on meticulously compiled lists. Lists of lesbian spaces, movements, bars and parties; lesbian slang and alphabets; mythologies, mysteries and manifestos.
This collection of fragments testifies to the hard work, boldness and care that went into making lesbian spaces in Brussels and other cities in Belgium, from activist happenings to bars and parties, this publication brings the traces and ephemerabilia of these groups and spaces into the light and the collective memory. The project’s timeline starts in 1953, when lesbian pioneer Suzan Daniel initiated the Centre Culturel Belge, the first gay and lesbian organisation in Belgium. It ends in 2003, when The Gate, Brussels’ last ‘out’ lesbian bar to date, permanently closed its doors.
This is not a traditional collection and in no way presumes to be exhaustive; it offers a patchwork stitched together from scraps left behind by a rich variety of grass-roots movements in our community. As this collection comes from different sources, we have placed a symbol next to each fragment, highlighting its origin or place of safekeeping.
In a time when lesbian bars around the world are rapidly disappearing, and lesbians are again being pushed into obscurity in the public landscape, we invite you to take in these memories and reactivate them.