Moscow Bans Parade for Drag Queen Who Won Eurovision Song Contest

Image: Moscow Bans Parade for Drag Queen Who Won Eurovision Song Contest

Friday, 16 May 2014 12:37 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Eurovision song contest winner Conchita Wurst will not be honored in Moscow – at least not by a city parade after officials banned a permit for gay activists' to recognize the drag queen.

The denial was likely not a surprise for organizers after the country enacted laws banning the dissemination of "gay propaganda" and repeatedly denied other gay rights demonstrations and activities, according to The Associated Press.

Wurst, whose real name is Tom Neuwirth, won the Eurovision Song Contest this spring, according to the show's website.

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"For me the most special and honoring thing is that Austria shows tolerance and acceptance and I'm so happy to be this statement," Wurst said, according to Eurovision. "I really hope that I get the chance to change some minds all around Europe. I want to show them that you can look whatever you want and that everybody must have the right to live their life however they want it, if nobody gets hurt."

Eurovision said Wurst's victory was the first for an Austrian in the contest since 1966 when Udo Jürgens won with the ballad "Merci Cherie." Wurst won with the song "Rise Like a Phoenix."

Wurst was already causing ruffles in Russia, where some Russians demanded that state televisionedit out the singer from the finals' live broadcast, reported the AP.

Last summer, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Russian legislators passed a far-reaching wave of anti-gay laws that has affected everything from the adoption of children to the conduct of tourists, which cast a cloud over the February's Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Putin also approved a law that allowed law enforcement to detain tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or "pro-gay."

Despite some plans to protest the laws during the Olympics, there ended up being no high-profile proactive statements or symbolic gestures by athletes during the games, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Italian transgender gay rights activist Vladimir Luxuria was removed from a women's hockey game by police after wearing a rainbow skirt after broadcasting that she planned a protest.

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