Scroll To Top

WATCH: Conchita Wurst Takes the U.N. 'Like a Phoenix'

WATCH: Conchita Wurst Takes the U.N. 'Like a Phoenix'


United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon stopped by the U.N. offices in Vienna to meet with and take in a performance by Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst.

The typically buttoned-up diplomats of the United Nations found themselves "believing" Monday after Conchita Wurst graced the chamber with a rousing rendition of Cher's 1998 hit, "Do You Believe in Love?" and "Rise Like a Phoenix," the song that helped propel the Austrian drag queen to international superstardom as the winner of this year's Eurovision singing contest.

Following the performance, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon applauded Wurst's contributions to international human rights, which have only grown louder with Wurst's meteoric rise to international prominence, notes Reuters.

"When I heard that she won this Eurovision song contest I immediately knew that she was a star of the world," Ban said.

With nearly 180 million television viewers in more 45 countries, Eurovision is a song contest the way Google is a website. That may explain the size of the crowd that turned out to see the singer, whose given name is Tom Neuwirth.

"I'm wondering why so many of you didn't show up to my town-hall meeting?" Ban quipped as the crowd of diplomats and staffers chuckled. "I think this is the biggest town-hall meeting I have ever had around the world; thank you Conchita Wurst."

Wurst's performance was part of the 35th Anniversary of the United Nations Vienna International Center, sometimes called UNO City, and took place in the building's famous Rotunda.

Sporting her famous dark, meticulously coiffed beard, Wurst delivered a decidedly bittersweet rendition of the iconic Cher ballad. She wore a stylish, conservatively tailored navy dress reminiscent of the late actress and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Audrey Hepburn.

Ban praised Wurst's contributions toward promoting tolerance and fighting discrimination against LGBT people around the world, noting the U.N.'s recent improvements internally recognizing the rights and dignity of gender and sexual minorities.

"This year I extended benefits to same-sex partners of U.N. staff members," explained Ban. "Discrimination has no place in the United Nations."

Wurst took Monday's opportunity on the world stage to put her credo into a brief word of advice.

"You just can be respected if you respect others," she said.

As the event concluded, the Secretary General asked Wurst for her autograph. The pair was swarmed by media photographers as well as diplomats and staffers with cell phone cameras as they posed for photos in front of a backdrop bearing the United Nations emblem.

The self-described drag queen won this year's Eurovision contest despite loud protests from several competing countries with prevailing antigay attitudes. Armenia, Belarus, and Russia even went so far as launching online petitions to have Wurst removed or edited out of the Eurovision broadcasts in their homelands.

Although Wurst's jubilant reception at the U.N. in Vienna Monday arguably underscores a broader shift in public acceptance of LGBT people, Russian politicos continue to use Wurst's image to score points with antigay voters.

Watch below, and hear Wurst's voice take over the Rotunda at the United Nations in Vienna:

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Thom Senzee