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Save all your kisses for me: Feel the LGBTI love at Eurovision Semi-Final 2

Save all your kisses for me: Feel the LGBTI love at Eurovision Semi-Final 2

It’s time for the second semi-final of the Eurovision song contest in Vienna as 17 countries take to the stage to try to win a place in Saturday’s grand final.

In rehearsals, Lithuania have been featuring not one but two same-sex kisses on stage! Will they do so again tonight?

Here are our seven to watch:

1 LITHUANIA

The second semi-final starts with Lithuania who are the only country to feature a same-sex couple in their promotional video.

The songs talks about ‘one kiss’ and shows several couples in a series of embraces of which one is a male couple.

Attitudes towards homosexuality have been softening in Lithuania and there is currently a bill in progress to introduce civil partnerships to the country.

2 IRELAND

The Irish are still the most successful country in Eurovision history with a total of seven wins, the last being in 1996.

Molly Sterling, representing Ireland with Playing with Numbers is a firm supporter of same-sex marriage in Ireland which is holding a public referendum on marriage equality tomorrow (22 May).

She posted on her Facebook page: ‘For the beautiful Irish humans who’ve been kind enough to support me so far…please spread those wings of loveliness and reach your support out just a little further… #”ŽYesEquality”¬#”ŽShredOfDecency”¬.’

We spoke to Molly about her views on LGBTI equality at the Eurovision Red Carpet earlier this week.

3 MALTA

There are two songs called Warrior in this year’s contest (the other being Georgia).

In 2014, Maltese singer Amber took part in a concert in the capital Valetta to celebrate the passing of Civil Unions into law.

Also at the concert were previous Maltese Eurovision entrants Glen Vella and LGBTI fan favorite Chiara.

4 ISRAEL

Just 16 years old, Nadav Guedj last year won Israeli reality TV competition HaKokhav HaBa earning the right to represent his country at Eurovision 2015.

Last weekend in Vienna, he was the only artist to perform at the annual Life Ball with both Conchita Wurst and Dana International.

The Life Ball is one of the world’s largest HIV and AIDS charity events.

5 AZERBAIJAN

Elnur Huseynov entered Eurovision in 2008 for Azerbaijan, which was their first time in the competition, as he duetted with Samir Javadzadeh in Day After Day.

He is one of the hottest guys this year and was featured on the front cover of gay German magazine Männer (Men) as their best act of 2015.

6 SLOVENIA

Slovenia are one of the perennial underachievers at Eurovision having failed to reach the top 10 since 2001.

However, Maraaya are about to change all that with a cracking pop tune called Here For You expected to give them their best ever result.

Slovenia was one of the most recent countries to adopt same-sex marriages, after the Slovenia parliament voted overwhelming to allow equal marriage and adoption rights.

The country has come a long way since drag group Sestre caused national controversy in 2002 . Here’s to Ljubljana 2016!

7 POLAND

Following last year’s risqué song My Slowanie, Poland have played it safe with a sweet ballad titled In the Name of Love and will be the final song in the second semi-final.

In 2006, singer Monika Kuszyńska was involved in a car crash which left here paralyzed from the waist down and she is the first wheelchair-bound artist to represent their country at Eurovision.

Gay Star News spoke to Kuszyńska earlier this week and she told us how she supports inclusion and equality for everyone, including those who are LGBTI and those with a disability.

‘Everyone has the right to live the way they want. Who am I to tell someone who to love. I’m also a person that is different. Nothing is wrong, everyone is unique, special and wonderful just the way we are.’

Kuszyńska has become quite a champion for equality in Poland, and now hopes to spread her message across Europe.

‘We need to do this; we need to change the world. This is our job.’

The second semi-final will be shown live on TV and online from 9pm (CET) today (21 May) and the final is on Saturday (23 May).