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The 8 LGBTI artists who made Eurovsion what it is today

The 8 LGBTI artists who made Eurovsion what it is today

As Austria welcomes everyone to Vienna to celebrate 60 years of the Eurovision Song Contest, we take a look back at some of the LGBT stars who have made Eurovision what it is today.


Undoubtedly the biggest success of recent times was the 2014 winner Conchita Wurst of Austria.

Against a backdrop of vicious verbal attacks from several East European countries, Conchita stormed to victory in Copenhagen receiving maximum points from 13 countries and even points from voters in Russia, Albania and Azerbaijan.

Conchita is the alter-ego of Tom Neuwirth and tried to represent Austria in 2013 with her anthem That’s What I am.

Since winning Eurovision she has performed at many prides around the globe, spoken at the European Parliament and also at the United Nations spreading her message from the LGBTI community that, in her own words, ‘we are unstoppable’.


One of the word’s most famous trans women, Dana International, born Yaron Cohen, won the Eurovision Song Contest back in 1998 with her global smash Diva.

Dana underwent reassignment surgery in 1993 and first tried to complete her ambition of singing for Israel at Eurovision in 1995 but came second in the pre-selection qualifying. She realized her dream three years later when being selected for her country despite strong objections from Orthodox Jews, and she stormed to victory.

Dana International co-wrote 9th placed song The Fire In Your Eyes at Eurovision 2008 and then attempted to relive her glorious victory in 2011 when again representing Israel at Eurovision in Germany but did not make it to the final becoming the first returning winner to fail to make it past the semi-finals.

She continues to be a successful recording artist both at home and abroad and is an ambassador for LGBTI rights.


Paul Oscar sang for Iceland at Eurovision 1997 with his self-penned song called Minn Hinsti Sance (My Final Dance) and in doing so became the first openly gay singer to perform at Eurovision.

The song only achieved 20th place (out of 25) but was much talked about for his tight trousers and S&M performance rather than the song! He wrote several other Iceland Eurovision entries, and he continues being a vocal LGBTI activist in Iceland.


Serbia first entered Eurovision in 2007 as an independent nation and chose Marija Serifovic with Molitva (Prayer) as their debut song beating Ukranian drag act Verka Serduchka into second place.

She was treated to a heroes welcome on her return to Belgrade, but it was the following year when opening the 2008 show that there was contention as it appeared she was getting married to another woman on stage.

Marija finally came out as a lesbian in a 2013 TV documentary and is involved in Serbian politics, frequently calling for a more tolerant attitude to the LGBTI community of Serbia.

5 DQ

DQ (real name Peter Andersen) was one of the most flamboyant characters of Eurovision 2007 in Helsinki. Appearing on stage for Denmark in a garish pink dress and feathers, he was the first solo drag act in Eurovision history.

Although the song Drama Queen failed to make it through to the final, the disco track remains a gay favorite on the dance floor.


Sestre are a drag trio that represented Slovenia at Eurovision in 2002 dressed as female flight attendants singing Samo Ljubezen (Only Love).

The artists had caused a storm of protest in their home country with anti-gay activists demonstrating on the streets of the capital, Ljubljana.

Protests continued to the Slovenian Parliament and even to the European Union but nothing was able to stop Sestre who finished in 13th place.


Every year hundred of singers and groups set out with the dream of appearing on the Eurovision stage and many countries have elongated pre-selection processes to choose their song.

This year Switzerland had over 300 applications including Bear Force One, a gay dance group originating from the Netherlands, that reformed in 2014 as a quartet of four bears!

Although the song, Action Man, ultimately failed to reach the Swiss final it is a modern camp classic!


Paul Oscar may have been the first openly gay singer at Eurovision but the first gay artists to be on the stage were Olav Klingen and Jonny Nymoen from the drag troupe Great Garlic Girls.

They were part of the 1986 Norwegian performance by Ketil Stokken prominently appearing as backing dancers.

The Eurovision Song Contest Final is on (Saturday 23 May). Read Gay Star News for ongoing Eurovision coverage throughout the week.