Belgium was the second in the world to legalize gay-marriage (in 2003!) and has an openly gay prime minister, so gay bashing wasn't my primary concern while vacationing in Brussels. I was busy worrying about where my next moules-frites and Trappist beer were coming from and fretting over exactly how much chocolate I was going to get away with loading into the suitcase.
Then I got a text message from a friend who is a local in Brussels. There had been two incidents of gay bashing from the previous night. And both took place in the area around the Grand Place, the heart of the Belgian capital's gay community.
In that moment, I realized that I was one small link in a big and rapid chain of text messages that flew around that day. This is community, I thought. And there needs to be a way for others to know this information.
A few months later, an app that does precisely that—called Bashing—made headlines in Belgium and in Europe. It is now at the center of a grassroots movement to track, report, and mobilize action against gay bashing throughout the continent. (Story continues on next page)