Marian Lens is waving her rainbow umbrella in the air. The Grand Place has already been packed with tourists from early May, and she is leading a dozen of them on her behalf tour like no other. In the narrow roads charged with countless centuries of Brussels history, she still conveys portions of her own memories of the city, in addition to historical facts on among Belgium’s long haul communities: LGBT men and women. “If we do not research it, no body else will.”
Lens has ever been among the city’s most prominent and vocal amount of lesbianism and feminism as the 1980s, when she started the Artemys, Brussels’ biggest and first lesbian feminist bookshop. It has since closed, but Marian Lens’ work hasn’t ceased: she helped found the Rainbow House, a heart for LGBT institutions, which blows the rainbow flag high from the rue du Marché au Charbon. Additionally it is the starting place of her own LGBT tours of Brussels, which she has designed and ran with her companion L-Tours as 2013.
Following Lens at the paved alleys of the city center, tourists have been encouraged to”go backward in time” to watch Brussels through the opinion of its own LGBT communities. There is the police commissariat on rue du Marché au Charbon, a gigantic redbrick building that was a prison, even where the French writer Paul Verlaine was detained after his famous spat with homosexual enthusiast Arthur Rimbaud, during their Belgian vacation.
There is the elaborate Royal Gallery, in which transvestites would play in the Théâtre du Vaudeville facing bourgeois audiences of the 19th century, and in which the recent movie