A Victory for Diversity

I didn’t watch the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest last night, but my Twitter feed was full of comments by people who did. That’s how I found out who won!


Conchita Wurst, Winner of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest

I don’t know what the song was like, but that doesn’t matter at all; the Eurovision Song Contest isn’t about the songs at all. What is important is that Conchita Wurst‘s victory sends out a clear message that there is a world out there that is happy to embrace diversity. Interviewed after the voting, Conchita said “I’m just a singer in a fabulous dress, with great hair and a beard”. That sums it all up, really.

I agree wholeheartedly with the official statement of the Beard Liberation Front:

The Beard Liberation Front the informal network of beard wearers has welcomed the win for Austria’s Conchita Wurst in the Eurovision Song Contest as a victory for a diverse Europe over transphobia and pogonophobia.

The BLF has long campaigned for the right of people to be able to dress and appear as they want.

There will no doubt be those who mock Conchita Wurst (original name Thomas Neuwirth), even within the gay community. But it’s important to remember that the Stonewall Riots of 1969 that galvanised the gay rights movement in the United States into action, paving the way for example to Equal Marriage, began as a  fightback against heavy-handed policing that was predominantly led by drag queens. It takes courage to stand up for the right to be different, and in that respect Conchita is an example to inspire us all.

UPDATE: Here’s the official video made in advance of the contest

P.S. I’m pretty sure that this means that Beard of the Year 2014 is now a foregone conclusion….


32 Responses to “A Victory for Diversity”

  1. Alex Amaral-Rogers Says:

    She was absolutely fantastic and if you do get the chance, I recommend listening to the song; there was something very Shirley Bassey about her singing.

    • telescoper Says:

      I put the official video on just now. the song is a fairly generic sort of ballad of no great interest, but Conchita certainly has a decent voice!

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      Shirley Bassey or Burly Chassis?

    • telescoper Says:

      A decent voice but no comparison with this…

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        I was told by a Welshman that she was actually from a place called Splot but said she was from nearby Tiger Bay, which suits her image better. I can’t imagine how either place got its name.

      • telescoper Says:

        The place is actually called Splott – it’s very near the Physics department in Cardiff, actually, between the city and Cardiff Bay, which is what Tiger Bay is now called. I think the official name for the area is Butetown, although precisely where the boundary lies between Splott and Butetown I don’t know.

        Here’s what wikipedia says about Splot:

        The name is from Old English splott “speck, blot, patch (of land),” which is also the source of place names in the Vale of Glamorgan, Gower, and Pembrokeshire. Fanciful suggestions for the origin of the name have included a truncation of “God’s Plot”, as the land belonged to the Bishop of Llandaff in medieval times, and a derivation of plat, meaning a grassy area of land.

        Splott however is not in the least bit grassy.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Well, that’s settled that. But I doubt that there were tigers there.

      • telescoper Says:

        One theory is that Tiger Bay was given the nickname by sailors because it was such a dangerous place to go ashore…

      • telescoper Says:

        I should add that, as its name may suggest, Splott isn’t a particularly salubrious part of town either..

  2. Manuela Says:

    The song was very average. She definitely has a great personality on stage, but I am not sure she would ever have won without that beard

  3. A brave and attractive entertainer whose passion is to sing – that is all.

  4. telescoper Says:

    To the anonymous trolls who keep trying to post abuse,

    I will not allow your messages to be posted here or anywhere else on this site, so you’re wasting your time.

    P.S. Get a life.

  5. Average in the big scheme of things, yes. However, compared to the other songs in the contest, this was definitely the best. Only the Netherlands song was comparably good. (Interestingly, the voting this year, by and large, reflected my own taste.)

  6. “A Victory for Diversity”? In the sense that the rather unorthodox clothing (at least for someone with a beard) was not a hindrance, yes, and that’s a good thing. However, Conchita wouldn’t have one with a bad song, which is also a good thing.

    Apart from the dress, though, Conchita’s appearance is par for the course in many hard rock and heavy-metal bands (where, on occasion, I have seen a bloke with a kilt, but no proper evening dresses). (In fact, until chemotherapy radically thinned my locks, I looked rather similar to Conchita myself.)

  7. […] What is important is that Conchita Wurst's victory sends out a clear message that there is a world out there that is happy to embrace diversity. Interviewed after the voting, Conchita said “I'm just a singer in a fabulous dress, with …  […]

  8. “Conchita Wurst (original name Thomas Neuwirth)”

    “Wurst”, of course, is the German word for “sausage”, which led to one of the year’s best puns during the ECT semifinals, in relation to Conchita with a nod to the most successful ECT winner*: “The Wiener takes it all”. 🙂 (Conchita isn’t originally from Vienna, but still.) However, the choice of last name comes from the expression “das ist mir Wurst”, which means “it doesn’t matter to me”.

    *Interestingly, ABBA have become one of the LGBT icons, despite consisting of two heterosexual couples.

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      If “Das ist mir Wurst” means “it doesn’t matter to me” then the origin of the idiom suggests that sausages don’t matter to the Germans, which is contrary to what I have observed.

      • The etymology is not completely clear, but at least in days gone by all and sundry was used in making sausage, various bits and pieces which one couldn’t otherwise use. So, it didn’t matter what went into the sausage. Similarly, someone eating one couldn’t care about what is in it.

      • I think it comes from the time when each german city had its own named sausage, different measurements but similar content.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        Expect the wurst!

    • telescoper Says:

      Ironically, the Wurst performance was judged to be the best…

      Lots of heterosexual people have been LGBT icons for lots of different reasons. Sometimes all it takes for an artist to say something nice about their gay fans!

    • telescoper Says:

      I suppose this was inevitable:


  9. “I didn’t watch the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest last night”

    Maybe you should have. I think the number of beards among the contestants (also, both of the male hosts were bearded) was higher than in any other year, in some cases all of the musicians being bearded.

  10. Bryn Jones Says:

    I was concerned about a plea for people to grow beards on this blog some weeks ago because I thought it unfairly excluded women.

    I now see that I got that wrong and therefore apologise unreservedly.

  11. Michael Kenyon Says:

    I’m a little uncomfortable about people saying ‘she’ did well, it’s a guy in drag not someone who is going down the very long and difficult journey of SR(S). Of course it’s great he won, but let’s not get worked up about a modern day Danny La Rue. Dana International winning was a much more important event, and she had better legs.

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