Mahmood and Blanco's Eurovision Song Shows Italy's LGBTQ Progress

Italian hosts of the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final broadcast on Tuesday night included Cristiano Malgioglio, a popular songwriter an...


Italian hosts of the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final broadcast on Tuesday night included Cristiano Malgioglio, a popular songwriter and TV personality also known for his extravagant tailoring, who riffed on his love life. Speaking of the five countries that automatically enter the final – Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Great Britain – he joked: “I have a boyfriend in every country.” He was also a host last year.

Eurovision has always “had a big LGBTQ element to its fandom,” said Catherine Baker, a historian at the University of Hull who has written about the contest. After important judgments of the European Court of Human Rights at the end of the 1990s and the Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997, which prohibited discrimination against people based on sexual orientation, “Europe got associated with the idea of ​​LGBTQ rights, and symbolically it had an impact on Eurovision, even though it was not organized by the European Union,” Baker said.

The competition has also long been a pioneer in LGBTQ representation on stage, featuring artists like Icelandic Paul Oscar, Israeli Dana International and Finnish Saara Aalto over the years.

LGBTQ people face openly hostile environments in several European countries, including Poland, Hungary and Russia. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, the powerful leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, recently justified Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by saying it was part of a struggle against ideals imposed by liberal foreigners, including gay pride parades.

Franco Grillini, a prominent Italian LGBTQ rights activist, said a song like “Brividi” would once have been “unimaginable” at a festival that normally has Italians glued to their TV screens.

In the past, homosexuality could also harm a musical career in Italy, he said, citing the case of Umberto Bindi, a talented gay singer-songwriter who caused a scandal in Sanremo in 1961 in wearing an ear ring (then a presumed sign of homosexuality). He never got the recognition he deserved because “he was brutally discriminated against,” Grillini said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Mahmood and Blanco's Eurovision Song Shows Italy's LGBTQ Progress
Mahmood and Blanco's Eurovision Song Shows Italy's LGBTQ Progress
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