It’s been obvious for years now that members of the LGBTQ+ community make up one of the largest segments of the Eurovision fandom.
Eurovision has had moments of queer empowerment, including Paul Oscar as the first openly gay participant in 1997, Dana International becoming the first openly trans artist to win in 1998, Krista Siegfrieds’ same-sex kiss in 2013, and of course Conchita Wurst becoming the first drag act to win in 2014.
Those moments are monumental, but what these acts have in common is that they have often accounted for the only (or close to the only) major queer representation in their respective contests.
In 2021, however, we finally started to see the breadth of our community represented onstage—not only in the number of acts that are publicly out, but in the range of identities.
Multiple Queer Artists at Eurovision 2021
That starts with our winners, Italy’s Maneskin. Bassist Victoria de Angelis is an out bisexual woman and became the second consecutive bisexual Eurovision winner after Duncan Laurence.
As I’m someone who also identifies as bi, it was so wonderful to see that positive representation of our community onstage.
Elsewhere in the Grand Final, we had Jendrik from Germany and Jeangu MaCrooy from the Netherlands, who both identify as gay men. Jeangu specifically has spoken about being a positive gay role model for people in his home country of Suriname and intentionally wore a gender-neutral suit onstage.
And of course, we saw Hulda from Iceland’s Dadi og Gagnamagnid proudly waving the pansexual flag in their homemade green room!
In the semi-finals, we had Ireland’s Lesley Roy, an out lesbian whose 2020 entry “Story of My Life” reads as a powerful pride anthem, as does Australia’s 2021 entry “Technicolour”, sung by Montaigne, who self-identifies as bi.
We also had Vasil from North Macedonia, whose “Here I Stand” took on new meaning following his recent coming out as gay and the homophobic abuse he received during selection season.
Why LGBTQ+ Representation is Important
Last but not least, beauty vlogger Nikkie de Jager became the first openly trans host of the contest, proudly and literally wearing her identity on her sleeves as her gown in the second semi-final included the colours of the trans flag.
I think that pride is what strikes me the most about this year.
Not only are we seeing a wide breadth of queer identities onstage for the first time, but the artists themselves are vocal advocates for the community. That visibility is so important and also signals a shift in the attitude toward queer culture at Eurovision.
Yes, there are countries in the contest that are still actively unfriendly to queer people (looking at you, Russia) but artists are now embracing their potential to be queer role models and advocates instead of playing down their sexualities.
I hope that 2021 is the tipping point and that the next decade brings continued diverse queer representation at the biggest music competition in the world.
How did you feel about LGBTQ+ representation at Eurovision 2021? Were there any artists we missed? Let us know in the comments below or on social media. Don’t forget to follow ‘THAT Eurovision Site’ over at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
News Source: That Eurovision Site
Featured Photo Source: Metro UK/@NikkieTutorials/EPA
Article Photo Source: Eurovision.tv/Gisli Berg