Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Victory of the Bearded Lady

Yesterday was the Eurovision song contest as you inevitably must have heard. Unless you're not from Europe, then you have an excuse to not know whaddup. Anyways, those who follow me on twitter could read my fantastic live report as I was tweeting whilst watching the show. The sport of it all is too be witty and entertaining. Being a bit bitchy is allowed as long as you don't make it personal.

Yesterday was the final and it was more than just entertainment. Of course, we all installed ourselves in front of the television with our laptops and phone in hand, ready to share every thought on social media. But this year the Eurovision wasn't just about who wore the best/worst dress or had the weirdest act. This year the world outside of the Eurovision bubble managed to invade and it was magical. The Eurovision Song Contest has always been about politics, neighbours voting for each other etc. It had little to do with music and more to do with extravagence. But this year, Austria entered the lady with the beard, Conchita Wurst. To some it might have been a witty act to garner attention, but to many others, including myself, it was a statement. A statement of being who you are and nobody who can touch you.

Ever since the semi-finals, Conchita has been my favourite and the favourite of many others. She did not just perform an act but she was honestly amazing. Her voice sounded phenomenal and the song was truly empowering. It was no surprise that she went through to the final and eventually won it.

The final was entertaining, although most acts were exactly like they had been in the semi-finals, with the additional countries which go through automatically for paying most money to finance to whole thing. Nobody was impressed until Conchita took the stage and owned the show. Social media went wild. It was a done deal.

Why yesterday was a statement? Well, because of the current political situation in Russia mostly. Russia, Belarus, Azerbeijan, they all wanted to ban her performance and when that failed, they aimed to not air her performance in their countries. Outrageous.
But hate doesn't win. It never does. And Europe showed that yesterday. The large majority of Europe united in their support for the bearded lady and Austria got vote after vote after vote. What's more is that at the mention of Russia alone, the crowd would start booing, the people on twitter started booing and we all brought Conchita her victory and with her victory, we brought ours as well. Because only if we fight together, we can fight intolerance and increase acceptance. I felt sorry for the Russian twins who had to endure the boo'ing, but it wasn't aimed at them and it wasn't aimed at all the people of Russia. I know enough Russians who have no problem with gays or people who are different. It was mainly aimed at Putin and the politicians who support his conduct.

After the final, a Russian politician posted: "There's no limit to our outrage. It's the end of Europe. It has turned wild. They don't have men and women any more. They have 'it'." But it is not the end of Europe. It is the beginning. Because regardless of our differences, we all agree that everybody should be able to live their life the way they want it to. To look the way they want to look without being insulted. To love who they want to, without being condemned. And that is a victory and there is no man whose hunger for power can stop that.

So congratulations Conchita. Congratulations to my own country for coming in second (hey it's been a while) and congratulations to Europe. We're one step closer to acceptance.

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