Metro Weekly

Will Nonbinary Singer Bambie Thug Win Eurovision?

Nonbinary singer-songwriter Bambie Thug, representing Ireland, has earned a spot in the Eurovision finals on May 11.

Bambie Thug

Nonbinary Irish musician Bambie Thug wore an outfit bearing the colors of the transgender flag in the Eurovision semi-finals in Malmö, Sweden on May 7.

The first nonbinary performer to represent Ireland in Eurovision, Thug gave a show-stopping performance to a pop and industrial metal song, “Doomsday Blue.”

It began with Thug —  a trained dancer and singer-songwriter who bills her musical style as “ouija-pop” — wearing a black-feathered tutu and a hairdo resembling antlers.

Surrounded by candles and sitting in the middle of a pentagram, Thug mimicked the conjuring of a demonic spirit, played by a shirtless, tattooed male dancer with horns and fangs, in tattered leather pants and blue body makeup, with whom they danced during the performance.

Just before the song’s climax, Thug was stripped out of their outfit, revealing a torn pink, blue, and white bikini, representing the colors of the transgender pride flag.

The audience erupted into cheers at the reveal as strobe lights flashed and flames shot up from the stage. A message — “Crown the Witch” — flashed on a screen behind Thug,

The performance earned Thug a spot in the finals — the first since 2018 for their home country of Ireland.

That berth gives Ireland a chance to break the record for the most Eurovision contest wins — an honor it shares with Sweden, at 7 overall.

Thug’s outfit for the semi-final round had initially included the words “Freedom for Palestine” and “Ceasefire.” However, the European Broadcasting Union forced them to remove the words.

Thug has been criticized by social conservatives and anti-LGBTQ commentators, accusing them of promoting “Satanism” and witchcraft with their performances.

Shortly after Thug won Eurosong, Ireland’s qualifying contest for Eurovision, a petition was launched calling for them to be disqualified due to their use of Satanic imagery.

Thug told PinkNews they hope their appearance in Eurovision helps queer youth feel more comfortable with themselves, reflecting on how they were inspired, as a youth, by Austrian drag performer Conchita Wurst‘s winning performance in 2014’s Eurovision. 

“When someone sees something [that represents them], it allows you to open yourself more,” Thug said. “Representation is always important, [but] especially now. It’s not the safest world for non-binary and trans people, for any of our community.”

Thug said they’ve received messages from queer youth who identify with them, as well as parents of nonbinary children and LGBTQ youth, who have showered them with love and support for being authentic about their identity — especially at a time when transgender and nonbinary visibility and rights are under attack globally.

Thug is not the only nonbinary artist at Eurovision this year, being joined by Swiss rapper Nemo, the presumptive favorite to win, and Olly Alexander, the nonbinary singer representing the United Kingdom. Thug’s chances at winning are slim but Thug is thrilled for the visibility the finals are bringing to the transgender and nonbinary community.

“Eurovision is like the gay Olympics anyway, but it’s changed now, because it’s being a bit more inclusive. … It feels correct,” Thug said. “I always say that culture starts within the queer community. We definitely deserve more light on us, all of us. To have [numerous] non-binaries in the competition, it’s an amazing feat.”

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