Rainbow pride moments through Eurovision History
June is a very important month for the Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bisexual, Intersex and Queer + (LGBTIQ+) community, celebrating queer culture and the rights fought for over many years, dating back to the first brick thrown at the Stonewall Riots by trans woman Marsha P Johnson in June 1969.
Since then, the Eurovision Song Contest has at times been a platform for LGBTIQ+ representation, using the biggest music stage in the world to spread messages of acceptance and giving a voice to queer art broadcast to over 200 million viewers each year.
In this Pride month, we want to highlight just a few of the many moments from contests past.
'Diva' - Dana International (Israel 1998)
Trans woman Dana International became a beacon of trans representation when she performed her song 'Diva' at the 43rd Eurovision Song Contest for Israel in Birmingham, UK. Despite vociferous condemnation from the Orthodox Jewish community and a backlash from "traditional" voices across the continent, Dana International won the love of the Eurovision fandom, triumphing as the first openly transgender performer to raise the crystal trophy
'Drama Queen' - DQ (Denmark 2007)
Although many drag performances have graced the Eurovision stage over the years, DQ shared the title of first drag queen solo performer with none other than Verka Serduchka in 2007. Flying the flag for Denmark over twenty years after the first drag queen appeared at the contest in 1986 (alongside Norway's Ketil Stokkan during the latter's performance of 'Romeo'), DQ ultimately failed to reach the Grand Final, but the message of overcoming adversity by actually making it to the Hartwall Areena in Helsinki and the song's positive lyrics are still a source of LGBT+ pride. Plus, who doesn't love sequins, sparkle and a costume change?.
'Marry Me' - Krista Siegfrids (Finland 2013)
Making it to the Grand Final, however, Finland's straight ally Krista Siegfrids led the charge for the legalisation of same-sex marriage in her home country in 2013, with a performance featuring Eurovision’s first female same-sex kiss between Siegfrids and a backing vocalist at the end of ‘Marry Me’. This arguably also went on to inspire other moments of LGBTIQ+ representation on stage, such as the kisses shared between the male and female same-sex couples in the middle of Lithuania’s Grand Final performance of ‘This Time’ in 2015, as vocalists Monika Linkyte and Vaidas Baumila also embraced.
'Together' - Ryan O’Shaughnessy (Ireland 2018)
This tale of a bittersweet break-up came as something of a surprise, with not only the music video but later the staging itself charting the complex relationship between two young men through beautifully-choreographed dance. Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s tender staging prominently showcased the telling of a queer relationship and saw Ireland qualify for the Grand Final for the first time since 2013
‘Rise Like A Phoenix', Conchita Wurst (Austria 2014)
We save perhaps the most iconic moment of all for last: Conchita Wurst’s emotional, heartfelt and vocally-stunning rendition of 'Rise Like A Phoenix'. Following the voicing of significant criticism regarding their choice to perform in drag with a beard, their message of love and acceptance for all resonated louder across Europe, seeing Ms Wurst crowned "Queen Conchita" and winner of the 2014 contest. The song's lyrics speak of a powerful emergence following a process of rebuilding, delivering a message intended to inspire young people, particularly LGBT+ youth, to have the courage to become the person they want to be.
All of us here at Aussievision wish you a very happy and safe Pride Month!