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Eurovision Showdown: Russia vs. Drag Performer Conchita Wurst?


This is Austria’s contestant for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, and her selection is making waves around Europe

In September 2013, the Austrian state-run ORF broadcaster confirmed that their contestant to the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest in Demark will be Conchita Wurst, the drag persona of Tom Neuwirth, a 25 year old former boy band member who came to the country's attention after appearing on the talent show Die Grosse Chance in 2011.

Since the naming of the contestant, protests have sprung up in Austria and abroad. An anti-Wurst Facebook page has nearly 39,000 likes, and comments there and on Twitter call the choice of Wurst "trashy," "disgusting," and a choice made out of desperation. The Facebook page calls for Wurst to be axed from the contest.

A google translation of German language site Die Standard describes a petition calling for a boycott of the broadcast of the competition in Belarus. The petition reads, in part, "The popular international competition, the OUR CHILDREN will see, using the European liberals has turned into a breeding ground of fornication." Because a woman in a beard = fornication, obviously.

Wurst told Radio Free Europe, "My stance is that I fight for something positive rather than against something negative. I was always an outsider and I was confronted with discrimination. I don't want this to happen to the next generation."

Lots of it boils just down to plain old transphobia, of course. We know Turkey had a problem with a couple of ladies smooching in last year's broadcast. What will Mother Russia do? It's anti propaganda law criminalizes anything that promotes what it deems sexual perversion. Russia ill they stick to the letter of their own homophobic laws?

Seems Conchita wants to call out Putin on the Eurovision stage, saying in the interview below, "It's a human-rights violation that should not be taking place in the 21st century... Considering our world's history, we should not be picking on such things. There are really bigger problems."

Here's Conchita singing "My Heart Will Go On."

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Matthew Breen