Austria's Eurovision Entry, The Bearded Lady Conchita, Doesn't Give A Crap About Homophobes
The Debrief: Drag artist speaks out after the major proponent of Russia's anti-gay laws writes her off as 'a sick person'...
Roaring vikings, Engelbert Humperdinck somehow presented as a legitimate British entry, and Serbia’s 2008 entry – a man dressed up in a neon turkey suit and clucking along to a hi-NRG track about how ridiculous Irish dancing is... It’s safe to say, the Eurovision Song Contest doesn’t just push boundaries, but sets fire to them.
And this goes for Austria’s 2014 entry, Lady Conchita, or Conchita Wurst, who is a bearded drag artist. Gender has always been played with in Eurovision – it's the campest show ever, and transsexual Dana International (real name Sharon Cohen) famously won 1998’s competition for Israel – but the difference with Conchita is that she is a drag act who likes to be called 'she' and 'her', but still has a beard. She doesn't want to look like a woman, but does want to do drag. Also, she is performing at a time when homophobic sentiment is running high within Europe. So high, in fact, that a – yep, you guessed it – Russian statesman has called for his country to boycott the contest if Conchita is allowed to perform.
Vitaly Milonov, who was a major influence in pushing through Russia's anti-gay laws, has called Conchita ‘a sick person’. 'Even just broadcasting the competition in Russia could insult millions of Russians,’ he explained in an actual official statement. 'The participation of the obvious transvestite and hermaphrodite Conchita Wurst on the same stage as Russian singers on live television is blatant propaganda of homosexuality and spiritual decay.’
And according to Gay Star News, Milonov also Tweeted to say that the ‘pervert from Austria’ should be excluded, so that an entire boycott of ‘the Sodom show’ didn’t have to be called for.
Conchita couldn’t give a crap, though. ‘We are living in the 21st century and for me it is incomprehensible how one can say such things,’ she told the Wall Street Journal. ‘Sexuality and nationality are unimportant things… and it also does not matter how one looks. That’s why I created this character.’
Yep, it's the Eurovision Song Contest all right.
PS. Want to know what the contest is really like? Javine Hylton's dished all.
Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson
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