Conchita Wurst Doesn’t Want to be Tolerated But Demands Acceptance and Respect

conchita wurst press
credit Julian Laidig


Although you could be forgiven in thinking I’m a bit ‘obsessive’ as I’m so fascinated by Conchita Wurst, nothing could be further from the truth.

While, sure, I’ve never been ‘the norm’ (thank God), my fascination with the lovely Ms. Wurst has nothing to do with me having an obsessive personality (I don’t, as it turns out) but instead has everything to do with her. All her.

That’s because, out of all the public figures I’ve written about over the years, no-one has held my attention like she does — as nobody has been this multi-layered, this intelligent, or this complex.

In fact, out of all the celebrities I’ve written about, she’s one of a handful I’d ever care to meet, (Pink and Angelina Jolie being two of the others). Because I’d love to be able to sit down in person and see how she thinks.

So where am I going with this?

To my thoughts about how complex Conchita Wurst is, as she’s always re-examining her opinions, and how she’s so intelligent she has no problem changing her opinion when she realizes it’s necessary. Even when it comes to something like tolerance.

Which, today, stem from a translation of an Austrian article I read, in which Conchita Wurst says “I’ve noticed for me tolerance is too little, because tolerance actually means ‘acquiescence’. And I will not be tolerated. I want to be respected for what I am. And I think acceptance and respect is deserved by everyone.”

Tolerance or respect and acceptance?

Can I start by saying “Hallelujah”, because ever since Conchita Wurst started talking about tolerance, acceptance and respect, as a writer and someone in love with words, I’ve been irritated by tolerance.

Simply because tolerance is and always was a negative concept and not one I have ever thought worthy of Conchita Wurst, or anyone else who is not ‘the norm’ (whatever that is?). But acceptance and respect? Hell, yeah.

So……just to give you a couple of definitions to get the ball rolling about what I mean when I say in the loudest tones imaginable – “Screw tolerance. I want acceptance and respect for Conchita Wurst, because she deserves them.”

Tolerancethe willingness to accept feelings or beliefs that are different from your own, or the ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant

So, if someone ‘tolerates’ Conchita Wurst, or anyone else who doesn’t fit into typical social norms, what does that really mean? And is it a positive thing?

Hell, no.

Tolerating Conchita Wurst, in the most literal sense, means the person would be ‘accepting’ something they felt was unpleasant. That is tolerance.

Now does that sound as though it’s something Conchita Wurst should be striving for? Because it’s not something I would ever accept for myself.

Acquiescence – the reluctant acceptance of something without protest.

As for ‘acquiescence’, a word she mentions in her comment, that’s the reluctant acceptance of something without protest. Note the word ‘reluctant’.

That means a person would grudgingly accept her, simply because they were forced to, or because they felt it was detrimental to themselves to voice their true opinion in public.

Again, something Conchita Wurst should want or accept? Of course not.

Acceptance and respect should be mandatory when it comes to Conchita Wurst

And so this is what I believe.

Conchita Wurst is one of the most intelligent, most hard-working, most considerate, sweetest and nicest people on the planet. She goes out of her way to treat everyone with kindness and respect, gives joy to hundreds of thousands of people, and is a far nicer person than many of those so-called ‘normal’ people who judge her. (Heck, she’s a far nicer person than me half the time). No, I’ve never met her, but I know these things for a fact. Just like I know I need air to breathe.

Now can anyone tell me why someone this incredible should not be unconditionally accepted and respected because of the person they are, rather than judged because of the beard, the wig, the lashes or the clothes?

Because those things are nothing but costume or cover, just like the clothing everyone wears, and inconsequential when it comes to what’s important. The person.

And the person behind Conchita’s wigs, gowns, lashes and beard? Astounding. Simply astounding.

As for why Conchita Wurst initially asked for ‘tolerance’? I’m guessing it’s possibly because she thought that’s all she could get? But now that all this love is being thrown at her, she’s probably realizing, nope, not even close.

So, please, can we ditch the quest for this negative term ‘tolerance’ once and for all? It does nothing but serve to re-enforce the idea that someone who does not fit into a particular box, at best, only deserves reluctant acceptance. And, at worst, deserves a lot less than that.

As for Conchita Wurst? Respect and acceptance are only her due, because of the person she is and because of how she treats others.

So, yes, screw tolerance and, thank you, Conchita for saying so (albeit in politer terms than me!)

About Michelle Topham

Brit-American journalist based in Austria, former radio DJ at 97X WOXY, and Founder/CEO of Leo Sigh. I've covered K-drama, K-pop, J-pop and music news for over a decade.