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It could happen because Eurovision fan and host of the international gay channel OUTtv, Jens Geerts, takes part in the preliminary rounds of the Eurovision Song Contest in San Marino. He wants to attend the Eurovision Song Contest with a song about homosexuality. However, opinions about a song that sings about gay love are strongly divided. The city state of San Marino is not known for equal rights for LGBT and transgender people.
Since 2013, Jens Geerts (29), has been presenting the Eurovision show ‘Calling Eurovision’ on the international gay channel OUTtv in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Sweden. Geerts has been studying Eurovision numbers for many years. It strikes him that, despite the fact that the contest has a lot of gay fans, not a single participating country has ever sang about the love between two men or two women. With a playful gay parody on the song ‘Satellite’, he wants to inspire singer-songwriters from all over Europe. In the video, famous Eurovision winners pass by, with at the end a special ‘thank you’ from Conchita Wurst (Eurovision winner 2014).
Married Jens is not a stranger to social media and also not afraid to show a lot and being creative for his cause. He is a big promoter for our LGBTI community and like PINK IN OUR LIVES, he wants to move forward and to be happy, openly gay and mostly to be himself with his man on this earth.
“After 62 editions of the Eurovision Song Contest, not one artist has ever sung a song about homosexuality before,” says Jens. “For five years I have been trying to encourage European artists and public broadcasters to discuss the theme in a song. IF there is a response to my question, it often goes from ‘the Eurovision Song Contest does not revolve around homosexuality’ to ‘the theme only speaks to a niche and is therefore not commercial’ and ‘according to the Eurovision regulations, no political positions should be taken’. I regret this. As if homosexuality is propaganda. We can sing about Stalin, war, heterosexuality, penguins, money, pirates, vampires, fairytales, alcohol, peace, violence against women and children… But homosexuality is apparently still a big taboo in the music industry,” claims Jens.
In 2013, Finnish singer Krista Siegfrids kissed her background singer on the mouth during her Eurovision performance. But the actual song is about heterosexual love. The singer has always been vague about the motifs of her kiss, and she has taken up several conflicting statements. Israel (2000) and Lithuania (2015) also ventured at the Song Contest with a gay kiss. Even though this was done secretly by only letting the background singers kiss. The lyrics of the songs never referred to homosexuality. Despite the fact that I don’t find two kissing men or women offensive, lyrics about gay love seems to me much stronger than a kiss,” explains Jens. “A kiss, certainly between two women, can be flinched off as “not sincere”; something to shock or to entertain the audience. We should also remember that the Eurovision is a PR story. A good song is important, but the story behind the song makes a winner. A winner is authentic, especially in his PR story “.
Jens realizes that his attempt to make the theme of ‘homosexuality’ open to discussion in the music business is not easy. His appeal to Youtube needs at least 100 likes to go on to the jury round in San Marino and for the time being, his idea is accompanied by mixed reactions. Although homosexuality is no longer really punishable in San Marino, the small republic is not an example of LHBT-friendliness and equal rights. In 2017, people of the same sex are still unable to get married. Gay people are likewise not entitled to adopt children. Transgenders may not yet have their sex designation adjusted. The Penal Code contains a legal article that punishes homosexuals who cause a public scandal. But that article has never been applied before. “On social media I get a lot of positive reactions, but just as much hate mail as well. People send me messages with biblical references and indicate that what I am trying to do, namely to integrate homosexuality in the broad aspect of song themes, is dirty and mentally ill,” says Jens. “Some people are tired that the Eurovision’s only about being gay… But, hello?! In 62 editions, there was not one song that dealt with homosexuality!!! Artists has only sung about straight love so far… I just think it would be nice to hear one authentic song about gay love. A song that I (and many others for sure) can relate to as well. I will continue to go for it. We need more love and tolerance. A song about homosexuality can change the world because being gay is still punishable in more than seventy countries “, concludes Jens.
We wish Jens all the luck and are proud of his iniative, so let’s see if he can breaks the taboo at Eurovision!!! #goodluck
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Lesley Middleton, owner of PINK IN OUR LIVES