Belgium used to belong to the countries in Europe with a very conservative attitude towards gays until the mid 1990s and then became one of the most progressive countries regarding gay rights within only 10 years. For instance, it took more than 25 years after the Stonewall riots in New York for the first Gay Pride march to happen in Belgium's capital Brussels – but now gays and lesbians in Belgium have better legal rights and a higher gay self-confidence than in many other countries.
Most of Brussels' gay bars, clubs, saunas and shops are located in the
along and around the street Rue du Marché au Charbon
(or Kolenmarkt – Brussels and its street names are bilingual: French and Flemish).
The gay bars in this street are usually very crowded on Saturday nights, often even occupying the street.
Gay parties in Brussels like La Demence are known Europe-wide and attract guys from all over Belgium as well as from its neighbours France, Germany, Netherlands and other countries. European integration is a reality here.