I’m not saying anything new when I say that this year’s Eurovision winner won for more than a song (if people do win for their songs). It was a win for anyone who feels that they cannot be who they are – Conchita not only is who she is but stands up and sings about it. She has been interviewed many times since winning, and she talks about a difficult childhood – as usual, those who are seen as different are sidelined, or worse, bullied.
Her song ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ is about identity – she has also said since winning, that she is her own truth, which is as close as you can get to living authentically and being truly who you are. It’s ironic in one sense that there is still a stigma against people who want to do this – and have the guts to do it. You can be punished in this world for being truthful – be dishonest about who you are and this is preferred!
In Greek Mythology, the phoenix is a powerful symbol of rebirth and regeneration – it is also associated with Early Christianity for the same meanings. It can also mean the ‘exceptional man’. All of these apply to Conchita Wurst and as one person said, she not only provokes questions about identity, but she also provides the answers to them, all within herself. She won for the quality and power of her singing voice but also because thankfully, we saw that what she represented is not something so very foreign to all of us, that we all have a voice and with that an identity, and we should look to her to know that it is possible to be ourselves. Eurovision this year was meaningful.