Rosa Lëtzebuerg asbl rolled out the pink carpet on Wednesday evening for the official inauguration of the "Rainbow Center" in Luxembourg-Ville.
Many members and allies of the LGBTIQ+ community attended the opening on Wednesday 17 May 2023 - which coincided with the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). Notable guests included government officials, namely Luxembourg's Minister for Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region, Corinne Cahen, and the Minister of Culture and of Justice, Sam Tanson, Luxembourg MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, Marc Angel, and several other political figures, as well as various ambassadors (of Japan, the United States, the Netherlands, etc.) and other dignitaries.
The official part kicked off with a colourful performance by Luxembourg drag queen Medusa Venom, followed by speeches by Rosa Lëtzebuerg President Tom Hecker, City of Luxembourg (Ville de Luxembourg) Alderman Maurice Bauer and Minister Cahen - who, together with Tom Hecker, later cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the centre.
Tom Hecker stressed that everyone was welcome at the Rainbow Center, which serves as both a "safe space" for the LGBTIQ+ community and "a centre for queer culture". Hecker reflected on the history and growth of Rosa Lëtzebuerg, a local non-profit organisation defending the interests and rights of the LGBTIQ+ community since 1996, and explained that the non-profit had noticed a lack of safe spaces and visibility in Luxembourg. The Rainbow Center project, developed with the financial support of Luxembourg's Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region (and the support of other partners), today aims to raise awareness and inform society as well as to allow actors in the community to work together. Three people currently work at the centre.
Tom Hecker noted the significance of the chosen date for this inauguration (IDAHOBIT on 17 May) and later recalled that Luxembourg had fallen two more places in the ILGA Europe Rainbow Europe Index this year, mainly due to a lack of "significant" legislative improvements for the LGBTIQ+ community in the past two years. Rosa Lëtzebuerg plans to present its catalogue of demands to politicians ahead of the legislative (national) elections in October 2023.
Alderman Maurice Bauer noted that the City of Luxembourg, which declared itself an "LGBTIQ+ Freedom Zone" in 2021, was happy to be a partner of this new centre and wished it great success. He invited those present to join two upcoming events of which the City of Luxembourg is a partner: an inclusive LGBTIQ+ football match on Saturday 3 June 2023 and the very first Luxembourg Pride Run on Wednesday 5 July 2023.
Minister Cahen highlighted the central location of the Rainbow Centre (19 Rue St Esprit, L-1475) in an area in the capital known for its nightlife. As well as a space for parties, she described the centre as an important safe space where LGBTIQ+ people can come for information and advice and to just "be themselves".
Rosa Lëtzebuerg Administrative Board Member Dominique Vitali recalled that this year's Luxembourg Pride Street Fest will take place on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 July in Esch-sur-Alzette; Pride Week will run from 1 to 9 July 2023. Confirmed acts include Eurovision stars Anne-Marie David, who won the contest for Luxembourg in 1973, and this year's Swiss act Remo Forrer.
The inauguration was also the occasion to launch a new exhibition on the subject of safe spaces, involving both queer and allied artists.
Following the official part of the inauguration, the Rainbow Center opened its doors to the wider public for an evening of drag and musical performances, awareness-raising and socialising over finger food and drinks.