TIME russia

Russia Bans Parade for Eurovision Winner Conchita Wurst

Conchita Wurst of Austria performs on stage after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 on May 10, 2014 in Copenhagen.
Conchita Wurst of Austria performs on stage after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 on May 10, 2014 in Copenhagen. Ragnar Singsaas—WireImage/Getty Images

A parade honoring the bearded drag who won this year's Eurovision Song Contest has been banned by Moscow's security department, which cited potential clashes between "gays and their opponents"

Russian officials have barred fans of Conchita Wurst from holding a parade in the singing drag queen’s honor. The Guardian reports that Moscow’s security department has denied an application for the Conchita Wurst March of Bearded Women and Men, which was slated to take place on May 27.

Ever since the bearded Austrian drag queen — real name: Thomas Neuwirth — won the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest on May 10, she’s come to be seen as both an icon and a menace across Europe. Though she won by a large margin and has become an LGBT hero across much of Europe, in some regions, particularly in Russia, Wurst has inspired backlash. Several Russian organizations called for a boycott of Eurovision and a Russian politician, Vitaly Milonov, even publicly denounced Wurst as a “pervert.” Though homosexuality is legal in Russia, the country has drawn international condemnation for its “anti-gay laws,” which ban the dissemination of so-called “gay propaganda” to children.

While disappointing for many, it’s also perhaps unsurprising that the parade, which was originally planned for May 27 to mark the 21st anniversary of homosexuality becoming legal in Russia, was deemed a security risk by the head of Moscow’s security department, Alexei Mayorov. Mayorov told the Russian news agency Interfax that celebrating the Austrian drag queen could lead to clashes between gay activists and their opponents, and that there was a pressing need to “respect morality in the education of the younger generation.”

[Guardian]

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