Yesterday evening, Francken posted a story on Facebook to express his idignation about certain aspects of society, including men who behave like women. "Men who use make-up, epilate their eye-brows, wear lingerie, carry a sacoche - a posh bag women may take with them when they go out, editor's note - get pregnant... Is the world going crazy or is the problem with me?" Theo Francken asks himself.
Francken continues: "Long live the men who don't need all this kind of crap to feel good. But to all those who do need this or who like this, don't feel insulted or attacked, it's nothing personal. Be free."
The message was adapted various times during the course of the evening, but was removed in the end. "It was causing too many misunderstandings", Francken tweeted.
It's Francken's points of view and everyone has the right to express his opinion
But the damage had been done. Francken is part of the Flemish nationalist N-VA, and people asked on social media what Zuhal Demir's and Liesbeth Homans' viewpoint on this issue was. Both are part of the same party, the former the federal State Secretary of Equal Opportunities and the latter the Flemish Minister for Equal Opportunities.
Cavaria, the organisation defending the interests of LGBT's, had asked Francken to apologise. But that didn't happen. This afternoon, N-VA president Bart De Wever joined the debate. He backed Francken - who is doing very well in opinion polls - and said that "this is not the party's view on the matter, but it's his opinion and everyone is free to express his or her opinion." De Wever added he sees no reason for Francken to apologise.
Zuhal Demir also reacted: "Someone's sexual identity is an individual liberty which is nobody's affair. Make sure you keep buying underwear that fits you."
"This can create a climate for homophobic violence"
Meanwhile, Meyrem Almaci, president of the Flemish green party Groen, has urged PM Charles Michel to reprimand Theo Francken. "His quotes are going against our liberal democracy and they create a climate for homophobic violence", she said. "Francken is a popular member of the government, the Prime Minister has to intervene."