Sunday

25th Sep 2022

'Bearded lady' speaks out for gay rights in EU capital

  • Wurst won the 2014 Eurovision song contest (Photo: Nikolaj Nielsen)

A defiant Conchita Wurst on Wednesday (8 October) challenged homophobic politicians and governments opposed to same-sex marriage to overcome their fears.

The 2014 Eurovision contest winner, speaking to reporters at the European Parliament, said “the right to love who you want is such a human thing” and couldn’t understand “why there are still politicians out there who are so afraid” of same-sex marriages.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Same sex marriages are recognised in England, Scotland, Wales, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden and Denmark. Finland is debating a same-sex marriage law.

Wurst, also known as the "bearded lady", fielded questions from reporters on EU unity, UK moves to leave the Union, and violence against LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans] people in Brussels.

“For me, nobody can hurt me anymore because I exactly know who I am and I exactly know what I want, so, I totally get that is not the solution but maybe it is a part of the solution,” she said of the violence.

She has been the subject of attacks and ridicule in the past.

Her contest win in May sparked Russian protests, with the Orthodox Church describing the 25-year old as an “abomination” and saying that her victory was “one more step in the rejection of the Christian identity of European culture”.

President Vladimir Putin also lashed out saying she had no right to put her lifestyle on display.

The backlash wasn’t limited to Putin and his neo-conservative entourage.

On Wednesday, German MEP Beatrix von Storch, of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, draped a "La Manif Pour Tous" flag outside her parliament office window.

The flag is a reference to a French-led protest movement against same-sex marriages.

But speaking alongside Conchita Wurst, Austrian Green MEP Ulrike Lunacek brushed off the criticisms.

“I know that there have been some people criticising it [Wurst's visit] but that is part of democracy,” said Lunacek, who is vice-president of the EU assembly.

She noted that almost one in two LGBT people have felt discriminated against or harassed in the past year.

The MEP is pushing to get the European Commission to piece together a roadmap against homophobia.

The European Parliament, for its part, backed a resolution in 2012 to condemn homophobic laws and discrimination in Europe.

Lunacek hosted the event along with far-left Dutch MEP Dennis De Jong, Dutch liberal Sophie In't Veld, Finnish centre-right Sirpa Pietikainen, and Italian centre-left Daniele Viotti.

The concert cost around €18,000. Lunacek said most of the expense was covered by herself and the Greens.

Wurst was not paid for her performance and flew economy class to and from Brussels.

Catalonia passes historic anti-homophobia law

Catalonia’s new anti-homophobe legislation could see offenders fined up to €14,000 for attacks carried out against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGTB).

Luxembourg PM marries gay partner

Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel put himself in the history books on Friday by becoming the first EU government leader to marry someone of the same sex.

'No decision expected' for EU decision on unanimous decisions

Swedish minister for European affairs Hans Dahlgren told EUobserver no decision can be expected on majority vote next year. Mikuláš Bek, the Czech minister for European affairs, said enlargement and changes to the decision-making are politically interlinked.

Opinion

What von der Leyen's 'State of Union' didn't mention

Ursula von der Leyen barely noticed that European democracy is under attack not only from external threats, but from within. Two of the world's leading autocratic countries are EU member states.

News in Brief

  1. More Russians now crossing Finnish land border
  2. Report: EU to propose €584bn energy grid upgrade plan
  3. Morocco snubs Left MEPs probing asylum-seeker deaths
  4. EU urges calm after Putin's nuclear threat
  5. Council of Europe rejects Ukraine 'at gunpoint' referendums
  6. Lithuania raises army alert level after Russia's military call-up
  7. Finland 'closely monitoring' new Russian mobilisation
  8. Flights out of Moscow sell out after Putin mobilisation order

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  3. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  5. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling

Latest News

  1. Ireland joins EU hawks on Russia, as outrage spreads
  2. Editor's weekly digest: Plea for support edition
  3. Investors in renewables face uncertainty due to EU profits cap
  4. How to apply the Nuremberg model for Russian war crimes
  5. 'No big fish left' for further EU sanctions on Russians
  6. Meloni's likely win will not necessarily strengthen Orbán
  7. France latest EU member to step up government spending in 2023
  8. Big Tech now edges out Big Energy in EU lobbying

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us