Sunday, May 18, 2014

Time for Europe to alter its view on its LGBT communities and human sexuality.
On May the 10th Conchita Wurst, a drag queen from Austria won the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The result was seen as a major breakthrough for the LGBT community in Europe by some, but for others it was outrageous. Many described how Conchita's appearance in the contest would turn it into a "hotbed of sodomy".

Countries such as Russia, Belarus and Ukraine unsuccessfully tried to ban Austria's entry in the competition, while public opinion in many countries was also divided. Comments in social media platforms were either condemning and showing outrage, or showing support for Conchita.

What is peculiar about the behavior of those who criticized Conchita's participation in the Eurovision, is mainly the fact that it is not the first time is that we had a LGBT person in the competition. The contest is very popular among gay audiences and it is inevitable to have drag acts participating.

In 2007 the song "Molitva" sang by Marija Serifovic, an openly homosexual woman, won the competition. In 1998 it was a transsexual from Israel, Dana International who managed to come to the first place. There was little condemnation in Marija's entry and as for Dana, her song went on eventually to become a big hit in many European countries, despite condemnation from ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Conchita's appearance of course is very provoking. A drag-queen with a beard, is an unusual sight to most viewers. Yet, that did not stop her from winning the competition. Her victory might be a political statement towards Russia, whose entry was apparently booed during the competition. Nevertheless it was heartening to see conservative countries such as Greece, Israel, Italy and Ireland giving their 12 points to Austria.

If Conchita's critics fear that the "behavior" of such individuals will become the new "norm" and they will have to see more of "these people", then they should wonder: did her appearance made or encouraged anyone to wear a dress and rename themselves as Chiquita Pastrami? No! 

I may not be the greatest fan of her look either, but her voice and song were good and that is all that matters. All that this individual wants and desires is acceptance, for whatever she is or represents and for the many transgender, transsexual, gay, transvestite or other individuals that exist and find themselves outside of the "mainstream"  social norm. 

Conchita's appearance promotes tolerance, not homosexuality or transvestism itself. If you don't have it in you, no matter how many drag queens you are going to watch in song contests, they are not going to make you or your children homosexual.  

There are scientific researches showing that children of gay/bisexual individuals in homosexual relationships, are no more likely to become gay themselves, than children who have grown up in a traditional family. That is about 5-10 % of a chance, just like as any heterosexual, traditional family!

Acceptance is what Conchita is seeking, not to make all of you and your children to wear dresses . Besides transvestism is nothing new, there are evidence that even in ancient Greece and Rome, transvestites were not something unknown. People like Conchita exist in all countries, ethnic groups, religions, races and social classes.

And what is really hypocritical about our societies, is that we all know that these people live among us, yet we chose to ignore them. When I was serving my military service in Greece, there was a transsexual serving too in the batallion. Technically, as he was physically still a man, he had to enroll and serve in the Greek army. 

The stories he was telling to the rest of us, about how many "real" men were seeking to have sex with people like him, then they were abusing them verbally or physically were sickening. There is a great deal of pretentiousness in our societies and I do not think we should be judging or condemning.

Besides, not every man who wears dresses is a homosexual. Many straight men in heterosexual relationships, like to put on dresses. They are the so called cross-dressers and there is a huge stigma and misunderstandings about their condition too. 

Transvestism, transsexualism, cross dressing, homosexuality are only terms that remind us that human sexuality is as complex as our brains and psyche. There is simply every "shade of grey" out there in sexual preferences so instead of condemning, we should first accept this fact, try to understand it or even explore it.

It would be easier to just admit the fact that human sexuality is much more complex than that of the cow or the sheep. Humans are far more complicated beings, mentally, biologically, spiritually and emotionally to just have sex with a partner of the opposite sex and only for reproduction .  

Even so there are plenty of cases of "gay" animals, especially among the most intelligent life forms like mammals and birds. Thus any argument of "normality" on sexual relationships and practices is absurd by any conservative folk that are offended by people like Conchita. 

Europe must become a continent of tolerance and to do that we need to start exploring outside of our traditions to find answers. Millions of people live in unhappy relationships, or unfulfilled emotional, romantic or sexual lives, because of the self imposed restrictions and taboos that we have placed upon ourselves. 

It could be your children or grand-children facing what Conchita has gone through, to find acceptance and tolerance. No one has the right or authority to prevent other human beings from finding happiness and love with anyone who they desire.

Happy and balanced emotional human relationships, mean happy and balanced, highly creative people. Not a demoralization of our societies or "sodomy" as many view homosexuality. It is in fact the current misplaced sense of morality that is a greater threat to our social fabric, as it drives millions of people into unhappy lives.

If Europe really wants to be a place or equality for all its citizens, then eliminating prejudices and promoting LGBT rights in all its member states, must become as important as any other initiative for equality and prosperity. 

And so the victory of Conchita Wurst is only a reminder of our continuous battle against prejudice. It is only a small victory among the many battles that must be fought in changing people's minds, reversing the injustice that has been inflicted upon all people of different sexual preferences.

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