Danes protest Putin's anti-gay legislation in front of the Russian Embassy in Copenhagen.
"Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen", to quote Danny Kaye, is poised to be the next flashpoint in the current East-West crisis. The city will perform wedding ceremonies for both homosexual and heterosexual couples from all around the world in the days leading up to Denmark's hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest 0n May 10. Denmark was the first country in the world to allow such marriages twenty-five years ago.
"We have already scheduled 20-30 couples in our calendar -both Danish and foreigners. On the first of the three days, we start with three Russian gay marriages," commented office manager Flemming Otto, blissfully unaware of the global significance of any act likely to wind up legendary homophobe, Vladimir Putin. "It's no secret that the Eurovision Song Contest will attract many people from the gay community to Copenhagen, and last year Denmark had new legislation that made it easier for us to marry foreigners of the same sex," Otto said.
The Song Contest has always had a huge gay following. Only last year, Krista Siegfrieds of Finland ended her performance of “Marry Me,” with a smooch on a female backup dancer. As the show screens in some pretty anti-gay countries, it was a big statement. Here come a few more recent reasons for its gay popularity.
1. Alexander Rybak
Representing Norway in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow, Russia, Rybak won the contest with 387 points, the highest total achieved by any country in the history of Eurovision. He did it on the day Moscow's riot police crushed a gay-pride rally, dragging away about 40 demonstrators. Observers said that clamping down on gay activists at Eurovision seemed less than sympathetic with the show's mission to promote peace and harmony among the competing countries. As Rybak said himself, "Why did [the police] spend all their energy stopping gays in Moscow when the biggest gay parade was here tonight?"
The fact that he triumphed with a sef-penned ditty called "Fairytale" was lost on no-one, though he was later inclined to deny suggestions that he was a gay propagandist for a good reason.
Earlier, Eurovision officials had formally barred Georgia from participating because its entry, "We Don't Want to Put In," seemed to mock Russian P M Putin in the aftermath of the conflict in the breakaway region of South Ossetia. On May 15, the chief of the Russian jury withdrew after he was spotted enjoying a caviar lunch with eventual winner Rybak in Moscow, potentially compromising his impartiality. What is it about russia and the Eurovision Song contest?
2. Sakis Rouvas
This Greek pop star has performed twice in the Eurovision contest, once in 2004 with ‘Shake It’ and again in 2009 where his arrival on stage in all white made for one of the campest entrances since Liberace. His performance of ‘This Is Our Night’ happily maintained the mood.
3. Dima Bilan
This cute Russian singer, popular for his shirtless poses on camera, had a ballerina emerge from a grand piano in 2006 for ‘Never Let You Go’ before winning in 2008 with ‘Believe'. He also, when clothed, wore white. Are we spotting a theme here?
4. Dana International
Sharon Cohen, professionally known as Dana International and born Yaron Cohen in 1972, is an Israeli pop singer of Yemenite Jewish ancestry. She came to fame for winning the Eurovision Song Contest 1998 in Birmingham with the song "Diva".
Assigned male at birth, she discovered that she was transgender at an early age, and came out as a trans woman when she was 13. She underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1993, the year that she released her first album, Danna International, upon which she based her stage name. After her triumph in 1998 she once more represented Israel in Eurovision, this time with the song "Ding Dong", although she failed to make it into the final.
Her succes was lauded throughout Europe, as were her outfits, far to colourful to conform to our white theme. For some reason, however, she never made it big in the East.
5. Michael von der Heide
Born on 16 October 1971 in the Swiss mountain village of Amden, Michael von der Heide is one of Switzerland's best-known singers. In 2010, he was the Swiss entry, a sexy young man resplendent in a golden jacket singing ‘Il pleut de l’or’, which translates as ‘It’s Raining Gold’, or 'It's a Golden Shower', as it's also been christened. It made for a memorable moment. And, at least, he too wasn't in white!
6. And coming soon: Conchita Wurst
Drag queen Conchita Wurst will represent Austria in Copenhaen. Decorative in high-heels, butterfly eyelashes and a full beard, Wurst, real name: Tom Neuwirth, is an unlikely contestant for notoriously conservative Austria. As "Wurst" translates as sausage, we can only assume that Conchita is well aware that the Contest, with its huge gay following, could be the perfect platform for the singer to launch his/her international career. As discussed above, Israeli transgender singer Dana International followed just that path.
He is, however, facing some local opposition. A Facebook page attempting to get Wurst cut from the competition has amassed some 40,000 likes. And it’s not just bigotry in Austria Wurst is facing: Artsyom Kirashou of Belarus has garnered more than 2,000 people to sign his petition to keep Eurovision from airing in his homeland because the show is becoming “a hotbed of sodomy” and Wurst makes him physically ill.
May 2 News Update
The author of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law has called for the country to boycott next week’s Eurovision Song Contest, branding it a ‘sodom show’. Petitions across Ukraine, Russia and Belarus had previously called for the contest not to be aired, over Austrian entrant, drag queen Conchita Wurst.
Russian MP Vitaly Milonov, the author of Russia’s anti-gay law, has now called for the country to refuse to take part in the “Sodom show” next week. According to the Guardian, he said that taking part in “the Europe-wide gay parade (…) [would] contradict the path of cultural and moral renewal that Russia stands on today.
May 11 Update. Conchita wins!
So, to the amazement of Lustralboy. The 2014 Eurovision Song Contest was Conchita from Austria scoring 290 points! The Netherlands ended second (238 points) and Sweden with 218.
So there it is: the campest, most outrageous cultural aretefact that Europe has ever produced, theoretically in the interest continental harmony. But East meets West? Astonishingly, in 2014, they did with even rabidly homophobic ex-Iron Curtain nations voting for Conchita big time. However, should you need an antidote to all this campery, do catch up with Lustralboy ex-Eurovision fave, Tim Schou, recently embarked on a solo career in the USA. And, yes, he's from Denmark too. See below.
Join our mailing list
- December 30th, 2016
- December 1st, 2016
- October 29th, 2016
- October 1st, 2016
- August 31st, 2016
- July 23rd, 2016