Eurovision has always been the embodiment of everything that is weird and wonderful about Europe. Although trends change and the boundaries of what constitutes 'outrageous' shift with every competition, Eurovision has continued to be a citadel of glittery splendour. I've been a proud Eurovision devotee for as long as I can remember. What's not to love? Even post-Wogan the competition offers biting commentary, power ballads, interpretive dance and poorly disguised political grudge bearing. However, I'm mainly proud to declare my love for Eurovision because of what it says about us as a continent.
My adoration of the Eurovision Song Contest was never more resoundingly reinforced than this year, thanks to Conchita Wurst - the Messianic second-coming Europe has been waiting for since ABBA. Europe - a continent so internally heterogeneous and divergent in its attitudes towards pretty much everything -collectively agreed that it wanted to crown a drag queen with a beard as it's shining star. It's the stuff Nigel Farage's nightmares are made of, and it makes me infinitely proud to be European.
Europe's collective recognition of Conchita as fierce and fabulous sends out a resounding message to the rest of the world about what we stand for - acceptance and glitter. You can dismiss the Eurovision Song Contest as little more than an extravagant talent show, but the significance of this year's results is undeniable. To see the transgender community embraced and celebrated in such an open and accepted arena makes me truly proud to be a member of a progressive community of people who are pushing to make Europe more inclusive and tolerant. If only all stigmatised groups could be so publicly celebrated to the sound of awesome power ballads.
The weight of Conchita's victory is even more pronounced in light of a number of disappointing developments in Europe, such as Northern Ireland's rejection of the legalisation of same-sex marriage, and UKIP's countless PR blunders. Although turn out for European Parliamentary elections may be pitifully low, Europe's citizens turned out in force to vote for a drag queen who has undoubtedly faced an onslaught of prejudice in her journey towards Copenhagen. Saturday's results reinforce the fact that the real minorities are those clinging hopelessly onto their archaic beliefs and trying to oppress the LGBT+ community. With policy makers and refusing to acknowledge the equal rights of these groups, the people of Europe have shown their support for open-minded acceptance.
The cherry on top of my European joy-fest was the audience's unrestrained booing of Russia - proof that Eurovision is much more than sequins and glitter. Love it or hate it, the Eurovision Song Contest shows the world what we will and won't accept. This year, the evidence resoundingly proved that we are not willing to accept any nation with grossly homophobic laws. Whilst the majority of world leaders have chosen to turn a blind eye to Russia's human rights abuses, the general public has not. Ever the bastion of liberal defiance, Eurovision picked its queen - and I am endlessly proud to be part of a continent that has chosen to celebrate Conchita Wurst as the very best of what we have to offer. Always a trailblazer, Eurovision has proven once again that it can stand at the forefront of a changing Europe and embody everything that is absolutely wonderful about us.