Do we still need symbols?

conchita wurst
A week ago or so an European music contest gave its first prize to an Austrian drag queen. It’s a very simple thing, no reason at all for any kind  of unrest – let alone public protests and diplomatic notes, isn’t it?
Well, it looks like this is enough. Austria was criticized for its decision to select such a candidate for the contest, a massive number of negative considerations / comments flew thru the social media and, after the drag queen’s victory of the final round of the contest, an official note from Russia’s foreign minister was sent to the media – expressing deep concern for such a frivolous matter.


If I take a look at my calendar I can see we’re still in 2014. No time machine or cosmic accident took us back to 1954. We’re talking about Europe, aren’t we? The final frontier for civil rights, the cradle of democracy and all, the ideal refuge for all the discriminated people of the world. Or not? To be fair I have to write that in the Eurovision Song Contest the borders of Europe are far more extended than in the political world. Countries like Russia and Israel aren’t European at all and there are mean differences between nations like France and Montenegro.
Now, take a look at this diagram. Consider it for a moment.

rainbow europe

Now, please answer to a not-so-little question: do we still need symbols?
United Kingdom legalize same-sex marriages this year, just a few months ago. The debate about the same matter is raging across the USA, with different laws (and different rights!) from state to state. France and Spain took the final steps to legalize same-sex marriages just weeks before UK, in Italy we are still far from such a progress. Look again at the diagram. Where’s your country?
My answer is yes, we still need symbols. No matter if they are good singers or not. We still need to parade characters like Ms. “Conchita Wurst” in television, we still need to show her image in front of all people who still persist to deny basic rights to the LGBT community. It’s a matter of fear from my point of view. Try to listen for a while to any of the LGBT haters in your own country: they use fear as a weapon to drive the public opinion to their side.
Actually the pendulum of civil rights is gaining momentum, and this is the most dangerous situation for the defenders of the status quo. Be careful out there. A step away from the spotlights there is the same abyss of ignorance about this matters that ruled the world in 1954. Maybe the next generation will see more equality, maybe not. It’s a matter of cultural progress, to shift from the old polarization in “us” and “them” to a new model labeled as “us”. Civil rights and basic liberties have to be granted for everybody, with no second thoughts about race, religion, politics or sexual preferences.
[Technical annotation: I use the female gender to refer to a transsexual or to a gay drag queen. If they feel as women, why not?]

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2 thoughts on “Do we still need symbols?

  1. That infographic is very interesting. It is puzzling to see that our country is so low in the ranking, even after many countries that are generally perceived as “culturally inferior” (and I find it is most unpleasant this sense of cultural superiority that often italians have towards, well, everyone else).

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