The Eurovision Song Contest is a global mega event that occurs each year and a site of gay and transgender visibility, representation and diversity. LGBTQI+ communities are significantly positively represented at Eurovision through an inclusive programme of formal and informal events supported through the contest and its fan culture and fan tourism.

The 2024 event will be hosted by Sweden and takes place in Malmo from 7-10 May.

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This qualitative research study, funded by the British Academy, will explore LGBTQI+ communities' experiences of the event through surveys, interviews and observations that will examine attitudes, perceptions and practices at Eurovision. 

The project started with data collection in Liverpool last year when the UK hosted Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine, and continues this year to Sweden, to compare findings from both events.

It examines the intersections of LGBTQI+ identities and nationality at Eurovision, with particular interest in the inclusion of trans and other marginalised communities. 

Since its first event in 1956, Eurovision has promoted transnational and European identity as a form of inclusive citizenship, underpinned by values most often associated with gay and transgender rights. 

Not only are these values important to LGBTQI+ communities but they also represent significant human rights concerns for all minority individuals. There is no research about the experiences of Muslim gay groups at Eurovision, for example, so this research will explore whether Eurovision can continue to be a site of intersectional inclusivity and LGBTQI+ citizenship for all minority communities.  

The research has three elements: 

  • Online survey of fans and attendees - the survey will gauge fans’ perceptions of the Eurovision Song Contest as a site of LGBTQI+ inclusivity and safety and collect data on their nationality, gender identity, sexual and religious orientation, and dis/ability.
  • Strategic interviews - interviews with stakeholders and fans will explore the extent to which distinct national perceptions and framing of LGBTQI+ communities are negotiated against (or within) gay and transgender visibility and representation at the Eurovision Song Contest.
  • Observations and reflections at Eurovision - travelling to the events and mixing with fans directly to better understand the ‘fan’ experience and observe whether the host city promotes the Eurovision Song Contest's values in practice

Outputs will include a formal report of the findings, available for national and international policy-makers, grassroots organisations and broader non-academic communities, as well as digital animations reflecting the experiences of fans in relation to perceptions of inclusivity and identity. A presentation of initial findings took place at the European Society of Criminology in 2023. 

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