Conchita Wurst 'bearded women and men' parade banned by Russian officials

LGBT activists had planned to honour the Eurovision winner and mark the 21st anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Russia 

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The Independent Culture

Russia has banned a parade planned by LGBT activists in honour of Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst.

Moscow authorities have refused an application to hold the event in the Russian capital later this month in celebration of the Austrian drag queen’s victory, Interfax reported.

Ms Wurst, whose real name is Tom Neuwirth, has sparked controversy in Russia; she was branded a “pervert” by Russian politician Vitaly Milonov after she sang her way to victory with the song “Rise Like a Phoenix” on Saturday.

Alexei Mayorov, head of Moscow's security department, told Interfax on Thursday that the Conchita Wurst March of Bearded Women and Men was rejected due to the need to “respect the morality in the education of the younger generation”.

The Associated Press reported that there were concerns the procession would provoke clashes between gays and their opponents. 

The parade was planned for 27 May, which marks 21 years since homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia. However, animosity toward gays remains strong in the country.

Organisers had previously said they would appeal against any refusal of their application and, if unsuccessful, would attempt to merge the event with a gay pride parade planned for 31 May.

But they face tough opposition; in 2012, the highest Moscow court upheld a ban on gay marches for 100 years.

Ms Wurst has been accused by homophobic Russian protesters of creating a “hotbed of sodomy” at the 59th Eurovision song contest.

Olga Batalina, Russia's deputy head of the parliamentary committee on family, women and children, said the results of Eurovision were the product of “propaganda of untraditional culture, including gay culture”.

Russia last year passed a law banning the dissemination to minors of so-called “gay propaganda” and routinely rejects applications to hold gay rights demonstrations.

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