Switzerland’s Nemo is first nonbinary singer to win Eurovision Song Contest

Switzerland’s Nemo is first nonbinary singer to win Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision 2024 winner Nemo of Switzerland Photo: Screenshot Eurovision 2024

In ‎Malmö, Sweden on Saturday, the top spot in the Eurovision Song Contest was awarded to a nonbinary performer for the first time.

Swiss singer Nemo overwhelmed the competition with the most votes in the finale for their performance of The Code, which saw the athletic 24-year-old spinning on a vertiginous turntable, clad in tights and a cheerleader’s skirt topped with a feathery confection in pink and red.

“This story is my truth,” Nemo sang out, as the audience joined in unison for the track’s catchy hook: “Whoa-ooh-oh-oh!”

The win was a rare moment of unity at the 68th edition of the popular pan-European singing competition, which has been mired in controversy since the contest’s organizer, the European Broadcast Union, declined to exclude Israel in this year’s show over objections from participants and fans opposed to the ongoing war in Gaza following Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7 last year.

Another nonbinary entrant, Bambie Thug of Ireland, lobbied to include pro-Palestine messages as part of their staging and was rebuffed. Thug was forced to remove a face tattoo that read “ceasefire” in the ancient Celtic language of Ogham.

“F*ck the EBU, I don’t even care anymore,” they told reporters after Nemo’s win.

Boos filled the stadium when Israeli entrant Eden Galen took the stage, and during the show’s voting segment whenever Israel was mentioned.

Other fans called the Jewish homeland’s inclusion in the contest “artwashing”.

Despite the poor reception, Israel placed 5th among 36 countries in the final.

The 37th country to qualify, the Netherlands was expelled after their entrant was found by Swedish police to have made violent threats against a female camera operator.

Hours before the finale began, Joost Klein, a favorite to win the contest, was disqualified following an alleged verbal altercation that almost turned violent. According to witnesses, Klein declined to be filmed following his semi-final performance on Thursday and reacted when the operator continued shooting over his objections.

The Dutch disqualification earned more boos from the audience during the finale whenever the EBU’s top producer appeared on camera with a vote tally.

More controversy attended Nemo’s appearance in the “green room” segments of the show where they gleefully waved the nonbinary flag after contestants were told it and other “political” displays were banned.

After Nemo’s win, however, the EBU seemed to embrace the “politics” of the singer’s violation with a rhyming Insta tribute.

As if all the other cracks in the show’s 2024 theme “United Through Music” weren’t enough, Nemo’s trophy broke moments after it was handed to them. The singer didn’t waste a good analogy.

“The trophy can be fixed – maybe Eurovision needs fixing a little bit too, every now and then,” they said to cheers from the audience.

Don't forget to share:

Good News is your section for queer joy! Subscribe to our newsletter to get the most positive and fun stories from the site delivered to your inbox every weekend. Send us your suggestions for uplifiting and inspiring stories.

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

GOP official tells businesses to ignore EEOC guidelines to stop misgendering trans people at work

Previous article

JK Rowling slammed for asking if she can be Black if she likes “Motown & fancy myself in cornrows”

Next article