Austrian Drag Queen Conchita Wurst Wins Eurovision Song Contest

Wurst swept the contest with her song "Rise Like A Phoenix."

Conchita Wurst, a drag performer from Austria, has been named the winner of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen, Denmark with her song “Rise Like A Phoenix.”

conchita wurst

Wurst, a.k.a. 25-year-old Thomas Neuwirth, nabbed 290 points. The Netherlands’ The Common Linnets came in second with 238 points and Sweden’s Sanna Nielsen, who came in third with 218.

Wurst won in a year marred by political strife in Ukraine, and negative comments about her. (The Russian politician responsible for the country’s gay-propaganda ban called her a “pervert.”)  Wurst told the crowd in Copenhagen, “This night is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom. We are unity and we are unstoppable.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.