Tom Neuwirth, we will fight dragons for you

Stealing your photo, C, for no other reason than you’re so bloody beautiful it hurts my heart.

Tom Neuwirth, we will fight dragons for you

(**In this, I am addressing Tom. Simply because it is Tom who was forced into his HIV positive announcement this week by someone who is not worth one more second of his energy. And it is Tom that, I hope, finally understands just how much he is loved).

If Conchita (aka Conchita Wurst, aka Tom Neuwirth) ever doubted how much she was loved, her announcement this weekend that she is HIV positive will hopefully have destroyed any doubt.

It should also have made her realize not only how much hundreds of thousands of people actually do love her, but the enormous number that will stand up for her no matter what.

And yes, I admit, I am a bit of a stalker where Conchita is concerned (don’t worry, she’s well aware of that! 🙂 ), as I watch her social media accounts, check subscriber numbers, and see how many likes she has on her photographs and views on her YouTube videos.

As a writer, it keeps me up to date on how her career is going, what her support base is like, and what her chances of having a career with longevity may be. (Bloody good, at this point, I’d say!).

It also fascinates me that this 29-year-old gay Austrian man who has fought since he was a child for some kind of acceptance and respect, now not only has so many people that adore him, but thousands that “rally the troops” every time he is under any kind of threat or disrespect.

But even I was blown away by just how many people responded to Conchita about her HIV positive status. Especially as, if you look at the more than 25,000 new followers she has amassed in two days, and the over 5,100 comments on her Instagram photo announcement, there is literally one negative comment by some hater for every 1,000 positive ones.

Taking into account her past enormous number of trolls and haters, that is absolutely astounding.

Conchita’s autobiography — buy it, if you haven’t already.

A lifetime of looking for and asking for respect

Now, I am not going to concentrate on Conchita’s/Tom Neuwirth’s past, or the f*cking years he had to deal with some of the most hateful people on the planet simply because he was gay, or a boy in a dress, a wig and a beard.

Because Tom himself never was a victim, isn’t a victim, and will never be a victim, and I’m sure as shit not going to bring him down to that level now.

Because he doesn’t dwell on all the hurtful, abusive things people have said or done to him. Neither does he use them as an excuse for what he does with his life. He uses them as a motivator.

But I will talk about one thing that has been in my head since I read Conchita’s autobiography and, at the time, made me so sad for Tom I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Something that came back in my mind this week. But in a much happier, more pleased-for-him way than it ever has before.

In the book, Conchita/Tom talks about moving from his tiny Austrian hometown of Bad Mitterndorf to Graz at the age of 14 to attend a fashion high school. The reason being, he thought, if he could get to a bigger town, the bullying he had dealt with in Bad Mitterndorf, for no other reason than that he was gay and liked to do his own thing, would end.

“Now I can be my true self”, he thought.

But when Tom got there, he basically experienced more of the same.

“It turned out that I was mistaken. The very opposite was true.”

He then goes on to describe the horror of not only being bullied just as much as he had been in Bad Mitterndorf but, in one way, much worse.

Because, whereas in Bad Mitterndorf he had a refuge at home, in Graz he not only had to deal with teenage boys bullying him at school, he also had to sleep in the same room as them at night.

And to this day, thinking about the incredible disappointment and how alone that boy must have felt hurts my heart.

But here is where I am going with this…

Still my absolute favorite photo of Conchita — because even in stillness, she is so powerful.

Tom Neuwirth has built himself an army, and it will only get bigger

Now I am a big believer in that, as we create our own destiny, we also build on things that have happened to us in more ways than we probably know.

And Tom Neuwirth has used every single thing he has experienced, both good and bad and including that Graz experience, to get to where he is today.

An international artist, loved by millions, fought for by hundreds of thousands, and with an army of family, friends and fans (The Army of the Three F’s) now at his back that, I think, he will never lose. An army that would never let this amazing person be that disappointed, or feel that alone, again.

Tom has done this by not only being brilliantly talented at everything he does, but also by being the nicest, kindest, most respectful, hardest working, most decent person you will ever meet. A person who is so easy to be loyal to.

Someone who, in just a few minutes of meeting him/her, so many of us know we would battle dragons if it meant that he was saved.

So, Tom/Conchita, here is one thing I hope you take away from this forced HIV announcement of yours.

Dude/Girl, we’ve got your back. We always will have. And all we want from you in return is for you to take that energy and that support…and FLY.

Related: Conchita’s HIV positive status announcement gives her the freedom to be anything she wants to be