Belgian university warns against cross-dressing after male student gang-raped


Two transvestites pose during the gay pride parade at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on November 18, 2012.



A Belgian university has banned cross-dressing after a male student was gang-raped while wearing women's clothes.

The Brussels Institute of Higher Education University (HUB) is advising its students that "certain groups perceive wearing drag as being provocative," Belgian news site FlandersNews reported.

The warning follows an attack last month, when a male student wearing drag as part of his initiation into a fraternity was beaten and robbed by a group of young men.

Then they dragged him to a deserted parking lot, where two of them raped him.

A 15-year-old and a 17-year-old are currently in custody, FlandersNews said.

A spokesman for HUB told local Flemish news site BrusselNieuws that the advice came from the student counselor after consultation with the student union, and not from the university's directors – which presumably means that it's not an outright ban on drag.

But even just warning students aganst cross-dressing sends "the wrong signal," according to the Regional Secretary of State for Equal Opportunities, Bruno De Lille.

"By reacting in this way they are at least implying that the rape was the victim's fault," FlandersNews quoted him as saying.

"What about transgender men and women then? Should they also 'adapt'? As a society we should make it clear to the victims that they have our support and say to the perpetrators that their behaviour is unacceptable and that they will be severely punished."

Earlier this year, an American high school in Suffolk, Va., considered banning cross-dressing in an attempt to prevent pupils being bullied, according to Reuters. The school board cited the case in California of 15-year-old Lawrence King, who was shot dead by a classmate in 2008 after he began to wear make-up and jewelry to school.

The Virginia high school later backed down from the ban following complaints from civil liberties groups, Reuters said.

More from GlobalPost: Belgium unites to ban the burqa