Meet Conchita Wurst, Austria's competitor in this year's Eurovision Song Contest — which is a popular televised event in which European countries soothe international tensions through the healing power of song and dance (like Glee, but with geopolitics). Conchita has all of the trappings of a star: a beautiful voice, the ability to make sweeping and dramatic arm movements without looking dumb, a flowing mane of hair that seems to gain graceful sentience in the presence of a wind machine, etc. She also has a beard, much to Russia's dismay.
According to the AP, Conchita Wurst is the drag persona of 25-year-old Thomas Neuwirth. Conchita's performance — which involves a lot of alluring glances and a bathtub filled with petals — has enchanted the Eurovision judges, who selected her to perform in the finals in Copenhagen on Saturday. It's also, predictably, sparked a lot of backlash: protestors in Belarus have urged the state television network to edit her entry out entirely, and Vitaly Milonov, a Russian politician who sponsored legislation that helped pave the way for the nation's horrible "gay propaganda" law, had some particularly choice words.
According to the Guardian:
Calling the event a "Europe-wide gay parade," Milonov argued that Russian performers' participation would "contradict the path of cultural and moral renewal that Russia stands on today". In a tweet, the lawmaker called for a full boycott of the "Sodom show".
"Even just broadcasting the competition in Russia could insult millions of Russians," Milonov said in the letter, according to a statement from his press service.
He went on, "The participation of the obvious transvestite and hermaphrodite Conchita Wurst on the same stage as Russian singers on live television is blatant propaganda of homosexuality and spiritual decay." This man is an obvious and horrible bigot, but, as Danish anthropologist Lisanne Wilken pointed out the the AP, it's hard to laugh off his criticism of the babbling of a terrified moron because his homophobia is state-sanctioned.
However, Conchita is not too concerned about her critics."I can only say 'Thank you for your attention!'" she said in an email to the AP. Also: "I also have to add that 80 percent of the autograph requests that I get are from Russia and eastern Europe." (BUUUURN.)
I hope she wins and, in her honor, the contest is officially renamed The Eurovision Sodom Show — or, even better, The Eurovision Blatant Propaganda of Homosexuality and Spiritual Decay.