Why I Write About Conchita Wurst More Than Any Other

conchita akris
Why do I write about Conchita Wurst? Because she matters.

Recently, some readers of Leo Sigh have noticed much of my focus has been on Conchita Wurst. Not that I don’t write about other celebrities, as I do — many of them — but that she takes up more of my imagination. She does. And I have no apologies for that.

But, with people asking why (not that they’re complaining, just curious), I thought it time to explain my reasons when it comes to the lovely Ms. Wurst and why, at the end of the day, I’m likely to keep on writing about her long after I move past others.

Reasons why she’s lovely and ‘Wild Girls’

There are so many reasons why I like Conchita Wurst, I could talk all day. Let’s just say it’s her talent, her drive and ambition, her sweetness and kindness, her sense of humour, her willingness to take chances, her intelligence (which I actually do find quite astounding), and her absolute refusal to be halted by failure, but instead to just change direction until she succeeds.

And yes, of course, she’s beautiful. There is that. (And when I say ‘her’ in all of this, of course, I also mean ‘him’, because she and he are ultimately the same. But, of course, you probably know that already).

What cemented it for me, though, was a TV series I watched a few weeks ago. A series I’ve heard she’s not proud of.

Called ‘Wild Girls‘, it was stereotypical trash TV, but, for a vehicle to help figure out just one more tiny part of someone who I believe is one of the most complicated people on the planet, it definitely had its uses.

That’s because, as I obviously have far less patience than Conchita, I found it fascinating how she treated the other women on the show – with kindness and respect. No matter how ridiculous they were or how much drama they tried to create.

Even when she was voted off sooner than she should have been, and in a situation where I felt she trusted those women far more than she should have done, and got back-stabbed in return (honey, women are more devious than men, we just are), she left with grace and dignity, proving to me what a spectacular human being she (and he) is.

In fact if you understand that term, ‘she came out of it smelling like a rose’, that was Conchita Wurst in ‘Wild Girls‘. All rose, all the time and absolutely admirable. And I want to support a person like that. Meanwhile, you can read more about my thoughts on this issue here.

Gay rights and human rights

While, of course, Conchita Wurst’s music is the driving force behind who she is, her message of love, tolerance and acceptance, and equal rights for all, is just as important — at least for me. And that’s where much of my support comes in.

That’s because I spent a decade as a Development Director for various gay and AIDS-related charities in the US. I was on the board of directors of a major gay and lesbian organization, ran social justice campaigns to help those who had lost jobs, houses and income for no other reason than they were homosexual, participated in some of the largest political demonstrations in US history when it came to AIDS policy, and generally lived a life centered around the gay community for almost a decade.

Not that it has much relevance except to explain the point I’m trying to make, but I’m not gay, (although I’d never rule it out as I don’t honestly think you get to choose who you love).

I just don’t enjoy seeing a large percentage of the population being marginalized and discriminated against. Standing up for what I believe in is how my parents always taught me to deal with that. After all, that’s the only way you ever get to change things.

But, it was always easier for me to do what I did and do than it has ever been for Conchita Wurst – and, of course, it’s really Tom Neuwirth I’m talking about here – and that is simply because I’m not gay and he is.

Yes, I stand up against discrimination targeted at other people but that discrimination is rarely targeted at me. That means when I go to bed and turn out the light, while things I’ve had to deal with might upset me, I’m never going to have to cope with that soul-crushing hurt people like Tom Neuwirth have dealt with much of their lives. Simply because I’m not the target and he, and anyone else who is gay, usually is.

Besides, having been so involved in the gay community, I’ve seen first-hand the legions of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders who are, for want of a better word, broken.

Broken because it’s one of the hardest things in the world to love yourself and believe in yourself, when much of the world is telling you that who you are is wrong.

As a result, if I have to spend the rest of my life trying to prove to as many as I can that they are not the ones who are broken, the world is, then, hey, in my little corner of reality it was a life worth living. My writing is part of how I do that.

So, yes, I will continue to write about Conchita Wurst. Whether she becomes the world superstar she obviously wants to be (and I believe she will), or just someone who is famous in a pocket of Europe, people like her and her creator Tom Neuwirth, people who are braver and stronger than me (and yeah, I’m brave but she and he can kick my ass in the bravery department any day of the week), well….they deserve all the support they can get.

** And to Conchita, I’m sorry, this doesn’t even really begin to explain half of it – but it’s a start 🙂

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.