Benjamin Beckers – Great Friend & Work Colleague of Daniels (2/89)

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© John O’Brien

I remember the first time I heard about Daniel. That was 15 years ago.

I was a newcomer in the company where I still work today. We used to have this internal magazine, where we had all sort of business news, but also articles from employees, notably a section called “The day I met someone famous”. There I see this article from a guy I didn’t know, talking about how he met “International Mister Leather 2005”, with a picture of them together. I was stunned because, in the previous companies I worked for, being gay was still kind of taboo, and people wouldn’t openly talk about it. But there was Daniel, in the internal magazine of the international business bank he worked for, in full leather and smiles, so proud to be on the picture with his leather idol, openly stating this was a gay contest. 

For me as a straight person it was surprising, and this was telling me a lot about the company that had just hired me: here were no questions of equality or diversity. Everybody was accepted for who they were. And Daniel certainly seemed to be a very open and yes, brave person: Fifteen years ago, in Belgium, while already quite open, mentalities were not what they are today…

Sometime later I met Daniel in person, and realised we had actually some friends in common. That was the start of a long friendship.

Recently I talked with the person who used to be the editor of that newsletter. She told me that at the time, there were discussions to see if that article from Daniel was something they could actually publish in the newsletter or not, and they finally decided to go with it. So, Daniel made the lines move there towards a more open company, and society as a whole like he did so many times in his life. That’s also who he was. Repose en paix Daniel. See you soon…

Written by Jeroen Van Lievenoogen

Jeroen is publisher of Alphatribe magazine

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