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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > Issue 279 > COLD COMFORT

COLD COMFORT

WITH A CONFLICT IN THE EAST AND AN ENDEMIC INTOLERANCE TOWARDS LGBT+ PEOPLE, QUEER EUROVISION FANS CAN BE FORGIVEN FOR FEELING ANXIOUS ABOUT TRAVELLING TO UKRAINE FOR THIS YEAR’S COMPETITION. IT’S WORSE FOR THE LGBT+ PEOPLE WHO LIVE THERE…

SPECIAL REPORT

COURAGEOUS STAND: A young activist holds a placard which proclaims: I am gay
REX FEATURES
FROSTY RECEPTION: Mark Radionov, 22, didn’t find Kiev as welcoming as he hoped, Above, Jamala celebrates her Eurovision win, and top, Kiev Pride in 2015. Far right, LGBT+ advocate Olena Shevchenko

When Ukraine made its debut as Eurovision hosts in 2005, it was forced to revise its competing song entry. The original rendition of Razom Nas Bahato, performed by rap band Greenjolly, carried an overtly political message: as well as drawing heavily from a traditional revolutionary anthem, then-President Viktor Yushchenko was mentioned by name.

This was interpreted by some as propaganda, a clear breach of contest rules. Substantial revisions were made and eventually the now-sanitised and inoffensive hip-hop track was cleared for performance in the final. Ukraine finished 20th.

It’s fitting then that Kiev’s second stint as host city arrives off the back of Jamala’s 1944, a haunting anthem about the Soviet Union’s historical deportation of Crimean Tartars. The decision to allow such politicised lyrics — They kill you all… where is your heart… you take away peace — to stand undiluted was as surprising (and controversial) as her victory. Swiping the crown from under the noses of the Russian favourites no doubt made it sweeter.

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About Attitude

Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award winning writer and creator of the exciting new TV series When We Rise, is on the cover of the latest issue of Attitude. Elsewhere in this issue: exclusive interview with the cast and creators of Moonlight, one of the most powerful gay films ever. Pop minx Bebe Rexha is ready to take over music. A special report on Kiev, Ukraine and whether it’s ready – and safe – for Eurovision. Travel issue special featuring New York, Ibiza, Paris, Fort Lauderdale, and more. PLUS: ‘Made in LA’, your FREE guide to Los Angeles.
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