The Eurovision Song Contest has quickly become a TV staple and for good reason. The beloved camp competition has amassed a passionate audience ready to tune in and cheer for their favourite countries, performers, and a fun bit of rivalry.
Among its memorable mishaps and incredible on-screen moments, the platform has become a musical global stage to celebrate self-expression like never before. So, in an effort to commemorate Eurovision’s long-running success, we’ve pulled together five of the most incredible LGBTQ+ moments from the contest’s history.
Dana, representing, Israel, made Eurovision history as the show’s first transgender performer. In 1998, the star took to the stage to perform Diva. Not only did Dana serve an incredible performance, but her admission permanently changed what Eurovision could mean to the trans and wider LGBTQ+ community. To make matters sweeter, the Israeli contestant was crowned the winner of the 43rd Eurovision Song Contest.
Now, it wouldn’t be a Eurovision ranking list without the modern Rock ‘n’ Roll phenomenon. Representing Italy, the iconic four-piece set the stage ablaze with gruff vocals, gritty guitar riffs and high-camp glamour. The band have since taken the industry by storm for their gender non-conforming style and contemporary flair.
Appearing on the Eurovision stage in 2014, bearded drag queen Wurst proudly represented Austria. Reactions to the star were divisive, however, the singer shut down criticism with a stand-out performance, proving prejudice has no place in the contest. Wurst performed Rise Like a Phoenix and later won the hearts of audiences and the show. Whether you were a fan or not, Wurst’s deserved win is a lasting win for the LGBTQ+ community.
A political statement is never too far from the Eurovision stage. Whether it’s waving a flag or a performance including a same-sex kiss, the competition stage remains a battleground for visibility. While we are often graced with a handful of LGBTQ+ performers, often we find LGBTQ+ allies playing their part to demonstrate unity. In 2018, Ireland’s Ryan O’Shaughnessy performed Together featuring two male dancers who depicted an onstage love story. When asked about the performance at the time, the singer replied: “My only intention was to help people see that love is just love, and there’s no difference – whether it’s between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and a man.”
Now, don’t start down voting us just yet. The audience, particularly LGBTQ+ viewers, are vital contributors to the Eurovision experience. From the competition’s infamous 2015 kiss cam which captured a heartwarming moment between a same-sex couple to the community-fulled humour online, a queer audience brings Eurovision to life in a whole new light.
At GAY TIMES, we understand how integral viewers are at championing beloved platforms and inclusive spaces. So, we’re putting our principles into practice and inviting you to be a part of our message. To celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest’s incredible history, GAY TIMES is teaming up with SKITTLES® to host a fabulous, large-scale extravaganza for this year’s show.
Taking place on Saturday 14 May 2022, the unmissable event will take place at London’s iconic Everyman Cinema in Broadgate, with a full takeover of the venue and this year’s Eurovision Song Contest being screened in all three cinema rooms. This will be followed by an afterparty in the cinema bar with special performances for guests throughout the evening.
Starting at 18:30pm, guests will be greeted by some of the fiercest entertainers in London’s drag and cabaret scenes and LGBTQ+ talent, and are invited to become immersed in this year’s annual Song Contest, which will be showcased from start to finish within the venue’s three, grand cinema screens.
Once the winner has been announced, all will make their way to the auditorium and bar area to watch all of the performances and continue the party until the early hours. Performers will include: OUTHAUS queer collective, Cocoa Butter Club, Lady Lloyd, Ruby Murry and Daisy Puller. Each performer will reimagine an iconic Eurovision classic during the after party of the event. BBC Radio 1’s Dean McCullough will round off proceedings with a headline DJ slot.
As the world’s largest LGBTQ+ media organisation, GAY TIMES has continually committed to preserving queer cultures and history, while striving to create new spaces for the LGBTQ+ community to flourish.
We have previously collaborated with SKITTLES®, as well as Switchboard and QUEER BRITAIN, for the ‘Recolour the Rainbow’ campaign to acknowledge and celebrate those who have come before us in the fight for LGBTQ+ liberation.
Together, working alongside SKITTLES®, we continue to spearhead greater opportunities to uplift the queer community. Our latest venture, a co-launched Eurovision party, is a reminder of how the contest has served as a cultural gateway for queerness and a platform for allyship and LGBTQ+ visibility.
Tickets for GAY TIMES and SKITTLES®’s Eurovision party are now sold out, but make sure to tune into our social channels for coverage from the night.