The Pride of Antwerp

Advocate.com hits the gay-friendly streets of Antwerp with openly gay police commissioner Serge Muyters.

BY Loann Halden

June 30 2009 11:00 PM ET

Even in a country as progressive as Belgium, where same-sex marriage and adoption by gays have been on the books since 2003 and 2006 respectively, Serge Muyters snagged headlines when he came out six years ago. It's not every day that a high-ranking police commissioner discusses his sexual orientation on the record and then proceeds to marry his partner -- a fellow member of the Antwerp Police Department.

Although Muyters decided to step out of the media spotlight five years ago, he agreed to make a rare interview exception for Advocate.com. As the summer travel season heats up, the first deputy chief commissioner spoke about being out on the job and the city he calls home.

Advocate.com: Belgium has some of the most progressive laws for LGBT people in Europe. Are there any areas that still need work?Serge Muyters: Antwerp is very open-minded to all visitors and inhabitants, and the city council supports many diversity programs. In 2013, Antwerp will organize the World Outgames. The only thing that concerns me is that recent research found that one out of 20 gay men is HIV-positive and that young people have a lot of unsafe sex. Due to successful treatment with antiretrovirals, people don't talk anymore about HIV and AIDS. I think it is necessary that Belgium put HIV and AIDS back on the agenda and convince people to practice safe sex.

Tags: Travel

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