Austrian broadcaster ORF’s decision to send Thomas Neuwirth’s drag persona Conchita Wurst to Sweden as the country’s entrant in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest created an outpouring of homophobia in social media, and serious attempts in both Belarus and Russia to have Austria’s performance blocked from broadcast on the night.
Conchita’s powerful performance of a rather cheesy ballad reminiscent of Bond themes sung by Shirley Bassey made the song a runaway winner, and catapulted its singer into a worldwide media whirlwind of interviews and appearances. Luckily, Conchita Wurst proved to be highly articulate and more than capable of handling the barrage of questions on everything from gay rights to Vladimir Putin, proving she was neither out of her depth nor arrogantly claiming to represent anyone but herself. Engaging and captivating a broad audience, she became a potent symbol of resistance against repression in countries such as Russia and of the growing confidence of the LGBTQI community in Western Europe.
He caught national attention competing to represent Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest, and this 2010 release from Barcelona-based Sergio Cuho reached number 2 in digital download dance charts. He’s well-known to Gay Pride audiences in his home country.
“I never want to be identified just as a gay artist, but I ought to say that thanks to gay audiences I am living my musical life with much greater intensity than I was before and with a warmth from the public that I never had in the world of house music…” (formspring)
For the second year running, Jedward will be representing Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest, which remains a strangely gay event whatever else it may be. Their song, Waterline, beat all other contenders in the 2012 search for a potentially-winning entry for Eire.
Despite endless rumours, Jedward’s management have made public statements that the twins are not gay or bisexual; the duo have nonetheless spoken about their respect for their gay fans, and frequently appear at gay events and venues.