Conchita Wurst, this years’ winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, is an Austrian drag act. Tom Neuwirth performed for the first time as his alter- ego in 2011 after creating Conchita Wurst, in order to help him to deal with the discrimination that he faced as a gay teenager who liked to wear feminine clothes.

As the famous “bearded lady”, Conchita has been a symbol of freedom in Austria and has now increased that profile massively following this year’s Eurovision win! Many celebrities have supported her too, such as Cher and Elton John.

A drag act has never before won the Eurovision Song Contest, making the win even more fundamental to changing attitudes. Conchita has since performed publicly in Vienna where she was greeted by many fans, some of whom were sporting fake beards and waving rainbow flags. The majority of people have embraced Conchita, proving that her confidence to perform in front of thousands has had a positive impact upon much of the population of Europe in particular.

Her win makes a huge stand for diversity in gender and the way in which we wish to present ourselves. Conchita’s motto is: ‘Be the best version of yourself rather than a bad copy of someone else!’ This is a great way to encourage people to really showcase their true personalities and move away from the conformities of society. Gender is biological; but the way that we present ourselves by using make up and clothes can alter that totally. Conchita made a huge statement in a full length gold dress, teamed with her bearded face, mesmerising the audience as she performed “Rise Like a Phoenix” which is about rebirth and transformation. The message portrayed through her image and song makes a big statement for anyone struggling with their identity. The amount of people that will be positively affected and will see her as a role model surmounts the less open- minded people among us.

She provided her audience with a strong visual presentation of what it is like to be a male in female clothes, becoming an outstanding figure for representing and promoting change and tolerance. Conchita’s win was welcomed by the audience at the final of Eurovision, proving that she has indeed managed to beat the prejudice. She is definitely helping to alter our perceptions on gender diversity. Well done Conchita!

Katie Wilson


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