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Eurovision 2024: Who's who among the Queer participants

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Eurovision 2024: Who's who among the Queer participants

The 68th edition of Eurovision — the world's most watched non-sporting event and the longest-running annual TV music competition— will take place in Malmö, Sweden, next week. And, along with the thousands of LGBTQ+ fans in the arena (and tens of millions watching at home), a number of Queer artists will take the stage to represent their country. Here's a look at them:

Nemo, 24 - Switzerland

Nemo, 24 - Switzerland
Nemo — SRF Ella Mettlerc  

Song: "The Code"

Nonbinary Nemo Mettler is the winner of five Swiss Music Awards but now lives in Berlin. Their music deals with themes of gender identity, mental health, and finding one's place in the world.

Nemo's Eurovision entry, "The Code," has made a big splash on the betting charts (reaching #1 in fact), and the accompanying music video is a literal gender-bending and genre-blending journey — in a train going from Switzerland to Sweden. The lyrics include: "This story is my truth / I went to hell and back / To find myself on track / I broke the code..."

According to Eurovision.tv and a press release from the Swiss broadcaster, "'The Code' is being heralded as not just a song but a safe space through which every person can find their truth. Nemo's truth lies ... 'somewhere between the 0s and 1s, that's where I found my kingdom come' [quoting the song's lyrics]. Nemo's personal story therefore becomes a universal narrative, a call for everyone to crack their own code and enter the kingdom of authenticity."

Nemo added that the song "is about the journey I started with the realization that I am neither a man nor a woman. Finding myself has been a long and often difficult process... But nothing feels better than the freedom I have gained by realizing that I am Nonbinary.

"It is an incredible honor to be able to represent Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest. This platform offers a huge opportunity to build bridges between different cultures and generations. That's why it's very important to me as a genderqueer person to stand up for the entire LGBTQIA+ community."

Olly Alexander, 33 - United Kingdom

Olly Alexander, 33 - United Kingdom
Olly Alexander — Eurovision  

Song: "Dizzy"

The singer, actor, and LGBT+ and mental health activist born Oliver Alexander Thornton identifies as Gay, Queer, and Nonbinary. He's well known as the lead singer of the pop band Years & Years, which achieved two #1 albums on the UK charts, a #1 single, and five top-ten UK singles. "Dizzy," his song for Eurovision 2024, is the first release under his own name.

Alexander has also been acting since 2008. Recently, he starred in It's a Sin, which depicts Gay life in the 1980s and early '90s, amid the onset of HIV/AIDS. The miniseries and Alexander's performance both earned critical acclaim and BAFTA TV Award nominations.

In 2020, Queerty listed Alexander among the 50 heroes "leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people," and he was named LGBT Celebrity of the Year at the British LGBT Awards that year.
Alexander has also acknowledged struggling with depression, self-harm, eating disorders, and anxiety since age 13, which he attributes to the homophobia he endured. On the hardships LGBTQ+ people face, he said, "I personally am yet to meet an LGBT person that hasn't been unscathed by growing up LGBT." In 2019, he hosted a short BBC documentary for youth called Growing Up Gay in a Straight World.

Though his work with Years & Years openly references his sexuality, Alexander says he "can't speak for all Gay people, because there are so many different issues and experiences, and different shapes and sizes. But I can speak for myself, and that is what I'm doing..."

As for the contest, he told the Wiwibloggs fan site, "I've always loved Eurovision. There's just nothing else like Eurovision. Growing up, there was this one night of the year that was just... insane craziness — a chaotic mix of fun and all these different musical styles, all these amazing performances."

Bambie Thug, 31 - Ireland

Bambie Thug, 31 - Ireland
Bambie Thug — Lily Lytton RTE?  

Song: "Doomsday Blue"

A practitioner of neopagan witchcraft, Bambie Ray Robinson plays, in their words, "ouija-pop... hyperpunk avant electro-pop... grit pop" — or a "sugar-and-spice mix of pop and industrial metal," as the Irish Times describes it.

Bambie is Nonbinary. In the Gay Times in 2023, they said, "I like being part of a cool Queer rising scene. I didn't have that growing up, so it's important to have people you can relate to and have music that speaks to you and allows you more freedom to be yourself — more Queer voices is what the world fucking needs."

Their Eurovision song, "Doomsday Blue," won the public and Irish jury votes (but not those of the international jury) in the Irish national selection; its supremely creative music video sports "a cool constellation of eye-popping visuals," according to Eurovision.tv, which calls it "an ode to the queer community." It contains "odes to pop culture moments" as well, "...obviously all made a bit goth," said Bambie.

Silvester Belt, 26 - Lithuania

Silvester Belt, 26 - Lithuania
Silvester Belt — LRT  

Song: "Luktelk (Wait Up)"

Silvestras BeltÄ—, "out and proud" since 2017 (the year he won I Am a Superhit in Lithuania), found self-acceptance after experiencing London, where, he said, he "got to live in a world where I felt normal."

According to Eurovision.tv, "His songs are inspired by personal life experiences, particularly drawing upon his memories of exploring his sexuality in a homophobic environment growing up, and how the suppression of those emotions affected him deeply." His idol is Troye Sivan.

Silvester was also in Junior Eurovision in 2010, which he called "dark times for me as a young Gay boy" on the Mysteries of the Euroverse podcast. He added that he dealt with bullying, so he says it means a lot to be an openly Gay representative of Lithuania, and he is proud to represent the community. "I wish I had that when I was a young boy," he said.

As for the relationship between his Queer identity and his aesthetic, he said, "I've always just wanted to feel free to look the way I look, act, dance..."

Mustii, 33 - Belgium

Mustii, 33 - Belgium
Mustii — RTBF  

Song: "Before the Party's Over"

Thomas Michel Mustin is an author, composer, singer (with two top 10 albums), and actor, known for a plethora of roles in theater, television, and Netflix productions. He is also a permanent judge on Drag Race Belgique.

According to Wiwibloggs, in an interview with the Queer magazine KET from Brussels, Mustii revealed that while he initially identified as Bi, he now prefers to avoid labels altogether. He said he simply wants to believe that he likes "people, singular free human beings."

As for his song, "Before the Party's Over," he said, "Before it's all over, you have to live fully and intensely, but also experiment with life and step out of your comfort zone. You have to take off your mask, fully embrace yourself, listen to your feelings, and refuse to be chained and caged."

The song — which sits in the top 10 on the betting table — ends with a chorus of fellow artists and fans, who sent videos of themselves singing a few lyrics, following a public call by Mustii last year.

Electric Fields - Australia

Electric Fields - Australia
Electric Fields — Zaachariaha Fielding and Michael Ross — Morgan Sette  

Song: "One Milkali (One Blood)"

Electric Fields — the voice of Zaachariaha Fielding and producer and keyboardist Michael Ross — merges traditional Aboriginal culture with music that ranges from modern electric-soul to epic-scale electronica. Their song "We the People" was the anthem for World Pride in 2023.

Playing together since 2015, Fielding and Ross describe themselves as "two feminine brothers" and affectionately refer to each other as Mala (for Fielding, the "younger sibling") and Tjutja (for Ross, the "older brother"). They are very close friends but not romantically involved. They embrace their feminine and Queer identity, saying that it makes them stronger. The pair's motto is "bypass the barriers."

Their Eurovision 2024 song, "One Milkali (One Blood)," about "unity, harmony and beauty," includes some lyrics in the Aboriginal languages Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara, a first for Eurovision.

Kenzy Loevett (part of Megara), 31 - San Marino

Kenzy Loevett (part of Megara), 31 - San Marino
Kenzy — Ana Markez  

Song: "11:11"

Loevett is the lead singer in the Spanish band Megara, which plays "fuchsia rock" (the color of some of her hair), a combination of electronic, dance, and rock. She also designs and sells clothes under the brand Coven.

Her relationship with actress Aria Bedmar lasted from 2009 to 2021, when they divorced after two years of marriage.

According to Wiwibloggs, the title of the "defiant banger" (with flamenco guitar in the bridge) refers to "the so-called 'angel number.' In numerology, it can refer to synchronicity — when the timing is right — and signal a spiritual awakening, self-awareness, and personal growth. It suggests that a soul is ready for new beginnings."

Saba, 26 - Denmark

Saba, 26 - Denmark
SABA — William Green  

Song: "Sand"

Anna Saba Lykke Oehlenschlæger, who was adopted from Ethiopia, was a model and photographer before replacing her twin sister in Hair and turning her attention to music. She is public about having dealt with bipolarity, making her an inspiring symbol of hope and perseverance.

She has been in same-sex relationships and, according to Eurovision.tv, is "proud to be the first brown, queer woman to sing for Denmark."

Slimane, 34 - France

Slimane, 34 - France
Slimane — Ismael Nebchi  

Song: "Mon Amour"

Slimane Nebchi, a French singer-songwriter with Algerian roots, went from the piano bars of Pigalle to winning The Voice (France) in 2016, leading to three #1 albums, sold-out arena tours, two billion worldwide streams, and seven million followers on social media. He is rumored to be Gay, and has been subject to racism and homophobia, although his private life is unknown. He has a baby daughter, but no information about his partner has been shared.

His song, "Mon Amour," is among the bookies' top 10 favorites.

Watch the shows — and vote!
Malmö is hosting because Sweden's (Bisexual) Loreen won last year's contest. There are two semifinals (Tuesday, May 7 and Thursday, May 9), followed by the grand final on Saturday, May 11, all starting at noon Pacific time. All of them can be watched on the Eurovision YouTube Channel (if you have a VPN service set to a participating country) or on the Peacock streaming service (live or on demand).

For the second year, viewers all over the world may vote — on the Eurovision app or website —during the shows (and new this year: also for the 24 hours before the grand final, for those of us in nonparticipating countries). See https://eurovision.tv/vote for more details.

See all of this year's songs at https://bit.ly/3Us8S3L (including a short roundup of all 37).

You can learn more about all the participants and songs at https://eurovision.tv/event/malmo-2024/participants

Scorecards can be found at https://eurovisionworld.com/tag/scorecard