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Role model for self-determination: Conchita Wurst

When a person answers a question with, “that’s just my own truth,” my inner-champion for self-determination does backflips! That was one answer among many that sealed the deal for my admiration of Conchita Wurst.

Dawn French said it beautifully, “You [Conchita] raise so many questions, but you’re also all of the answers.”

I listened to the conversation, struck by the grace and humility and strength embodied by this brave person who discovered personal truth, “I created this bearded lady to show that you…it’s so cheesy but you only get one life. You’d better make it fabulous. And that’s just my own truth. I feel this stage persona and I felt more comfortable on stage and besides that, I’m a member of the gay community and our stories are similar. Being a teenager in this small village wasn’t the funnest thing on earth, so over the years I tried to fit in and I changed myself in every way you could imagine. I just wanted to be part of the game and then I realized, well, that I create the game.”

Individual Characters With Mutual Respect: Transcendent Truth

In a May 2014 article, Salon quoted Conchita, “The private person Tom Neuwirth and the art figure Conchita Wurst respect each other from the bottom of their hearts. They are two individual characters with their own individual stories, but with one essential message for tolerance and against discrimination.”

Strip away the glamour and spectacle of art and entertainment and a person balancing the challenge of public and private life and consciously living a personal truth emerges into view. It’s functionally identical to the dance required of most people striving to balance professional and personal roles, many of whom are working to discover their personal truths.

Living one’s personal truth under the public lens takes bravery, resolve and a circle of support, especially when that truth stirs such emotional polarization as was seen following Conchita’s Eurovision 2014 win. It’s encouraging to read analyses describing a change of popular attitudes toward gender and a welcoming of private person, Tom Neuwirth and art figure, Conchita Wurth, as bearers of the message of tolerance.

Questions and Answers:

Does Conchita simultaneously raise questions and provide all of the answers? Perhaps all is a bit of a stretch, but as report after report spotlights people’s confusion, Conchita offers impressive clarity, confidence and intentionality provide a model for those who aspire to discover and embrace their singular genderprint.

Celebrating and living our singular genderprint is particularly challenging when doing so explicitly defies the mandates of lifetrack male or lifetrack female, many of which attempt to constrain appearance. The mixing of stereotypical elements from both lifetracks in the persona of the bearded lady brilliantly confronts mainstream sensibilities and invites the imagination to dream of endless possibilities. I welcome that invitation. As I imagine a time when people are free to express their singular genderprint with confidence and without fear, I smile. Now there’s an answer humanity can grow on! Peace.





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