Conchita Wurst Rises Like a Phoenix!

Singer Conchita Wurst representing Austria who performed the song 'Rise Like a Phoenix' celebrates with the trophy after winn
Singer Conchita Wurst representing Austria who performed the song 'Rise Like a Phoenix' celebrates with the trophy after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in the B&W Halls in Copenhagen, Denmark, Saturday, May 10, 2014.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Bearded Austrian drag queen Conchita Wurst's epic victory in this year's Eurovision competition sent a clear and powerful message to all the homophobes, and anti-LGBT factions in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Time to accept everyone for who they are. Time to accept the rainbow of sexuality that exists in human society 100 percent -- no ifs, ands or buts. Transgendered and queer people are not only part of the human family, but they are often among our most gifted artistically and otherwise, as they are used to seeing things in a different light. Wurst means both "sausage" and "it's all the same" in German, and stands for acceptance, according to Wurst, whose non-drag name is Tom Neuwirth: "It's all the same how you look or where you come from, because the only thing that counts is the person you are." While Wurst received a standing ovation, Russia's entry, two blonde twins touted as virgins, were practically booed off the stage. I felt bad for the twins, but it seemed as if a new epoch of tolerance and pro-LGBT support had dawned.

Let it also be said that Conchita won fair and square: her entry "Rise Like a Phoenix" is a great song, head and shoulders above the tepid entries from other countries. I have to say that I, like others, have a hard time taking Eurovision seriously, but I am happy someone with guts and talent won. It is also a tribute to contemporary Austria that they nominated Wurst in the first place, shedding the nation's sometimes unfortunate associations with World War II and Kurt Waldheim-type politics.

Wurst's victory was a clear victory for queer and LGBT people everywhere. But it was also a victory for humanity in its broadest sense and a rebuff not just to homophobes but to racists, anti-semites, Islamophobes and anyone else who hates another group for the sake of hatred. I will let Wurst have the last word, and quote from her eloquent victory speech: "This night is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom. You know who you are. We are unity. And we are unstoppable."

PS: Thank God that Aram Mp3, Armenia's fourth-place finisher, apologized to Wurst for his bigoted statements which are not worth repeating here. As an Armenian, he should feel doubly ashamed for having uttered such words against another persecuted minority.

Videos of Wurst are available at: