Why Join?

  • Add New Books

  • Write a Review

  • Backpack Reading Lists

  • Newsletter Updates

Join Now

Author, artist and activist Fleur Pierets talks about LGBTQ+ activism and loss

16th September 2023

Fleur PieretsTalking to Fleur Pierets, author of Julian — “What started as a beautiful act of LGBTQ+ protest art quickly turned to tragedy when Belgian artist and activist Fleur Pierets suddenly and unexpectedly lost her wife Julian P”

My favourite love story is ours. It started off in Amsterdam on December 9th, 2010 when I first met my wife Julian, and would travel around the world as an art project.

When Julian and I found out that most people didnt know that in most countries you cant get married when you are gay, we wanted to do something about it. Something stylish, something positive. Because in our opinion, that was the first step towards lasting change and building bridges.

We figured that marriage and love something that everyone can relate to was a perfect starting point to raise awareness. So Julian and I decided to get married in all the countries where same-sex marriage was allowed. We wanted to create a positive artwork that celebrated the countries that allowed same-sex marriage, while highlighting the 174 others that still needed work.

Fleur Pierets

Amsterdam: Femke Van Hettema

Art broadens the mind and we wanted to generate greater awareness for equal rights. 

We didnt have the money to take this journey but we learned that if we sold everything we had, we would make it to five weddings. And we hoped that after that, there would be some airline or bus company that wanted to sponsor our travel expenses. And that people would let us sleep on their couches. So we took a leap of faith, sold everything we had and we ended up with one suitcase each. Filled with the only belongings we had left in the entire world.

And we knew that if this project failed, we would have nothing left. But we were brave and enthusiastic. And very much in love so nothing else really mattered.

When we started out in 2017, there were twenty-two countries where two women could get married. So that is why we called the performance “22”. The name was a conscious decision and we hoped for an extra country to join the movement while we were travelling. It would show that the world is constantly changing. And it does, because in the course of our performance we were able to add Malta, Germany and Australia to the list. We were building a time capsule that instantly referred to the possibility of change.

Buy Now


New York: Goor Studio

On Wednesday 20th September 2017, we officially started our art project by getting married for the first time at the Marriage Bureau in New York. Our mailbox exploded and every news and media outlet wanted to talk to us. We were living the life of our dreams. 

We told a story of hopea story of inclusionand the press was labeling us role models. Julian and I got married in New York, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Paris. After our wedding in Paris my wife felt dizzy and was diagnosed with multiple brain tumors. She died six weeks later on 22nd January, 2018. We had said “I do” in four countries. When she died, the sun stopped shining.

Obviously a lot has changed since then. When Julian died I not only lost the love of my life but also my job, because we were working together. I had no home or belongings, because we sold everything. I was left with two suitcases.

Its been five and a half years now since that happened and the only thing that keeps me here, that keeps me in this life, is my deep empathy and compassion for human suffering. And the idea that I can do something about it. That I have to keep working. 

And working is what I do: Ive been writing a book called Julianabout the work we did and our life together and Fleur Pieretscurrently the book is being turned into a film. Ive written two childrens books called Love Around the World and Love is Love, about two women, Fleur and Julian, who plan to marry in every country where they are allowed to do so. In the book Julian doesnt die and we finish our performance of love. 

But every morning I have to make the same effort to open my eyes and put my feet next to the bed. Slowly, and one at a time. And Im wondering: what if all my happiness, all my enthusiasm, all my lust for life, only existed in combination with Julian. What if it was her, and not gravity, that keeps me in place? 


Buy Now


(Julian is published by 3TimesRebel Press, released 14th September in the UK)

Join team TripFiction on Social Media:

Twitter (@TripFiction), Facebook (@TripFiction.Literarywanderlust), YouTube (TripFiction #Literarywanderlust), Instagram (@TripFiction) and Pinterest (@TripFiction)

Subscribe to future blog posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *