signing competitions

Israel Is Sending Transgender Beauty Dana International To Eurovision. For The Second Time

Dana International will be Israel’s entrant at Eurovision this May in Düsseldorf, Germany, which is lovely because, hey, she’s got a nice voice, and she’s pretty, and I like the way her hair cascades across her forehead. Dana is also transgender and a second-time contestant, which means at least some fraction of the 120 million viewers around the world tune in (even you Pakistan!), they’re going to watch this MTF belt it.

Selected in an overwhelming vote on Tuesday, Dana competes May 14 for the world’s most significant entertainment event that America doesn’t care about.

Dana (born Yaron Cohen) has basked in the Eurovision spotlight before. Orthodox Jews were aghast when she first won the right to compete for Israel in 1998. Her single “Diva” conveyed hope that the transgender community could find strength through struggle: “She is all you’ll ever dream to find/ On her stage she sings her story/ Pain and hurt will set her heart alight/ Like a queen in all her glory.” European voters were moved by her performance at the Eurovision final and crowned her the winner. “My victory proves God is on my side,” she said afterward. “I want to send my critics a message of forgiveness … I am part of the Jewish nation.” “Diva” went on to sell more than 400,000 copies worldwide and made the Top 10 in five European countries.

And, like a true diva, she managed to rub a few people the wrong way at the 1998 contest. After being named the winner during the live broadcast, she arrived on stage late for her encore performance because she insisted on changing into an elaborate feathered dress designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier. Given the white swan number she wore last night, she’s hoping history will repeat itself.


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  • Qjersey

    I dated an Israeli 10 years ago. He gave me all these Dana CD (in hebrew) because he was ‘over her.’ I loved them all and still have them…and bad Queerty…remember that the TV “Beautiful People” did an episode featuring Dana!

  • David

    I hope she breaks the curse of previous winners who return to Queerovision (as the festival is affectionately called by UK gays) and do terribly. Charlotte Nilsson and Niamh Kavanagh won the festival in the 90’s only to return 10 years later and flop dismally. The Eurovision is like the Gay Superbowl (with prettier costumes and worse music.)

  • David

    This new song is quite dull – nowhere near as good as ‘Diva’ was. I remember seeing the Eurovision on a big screen in a gay bar in Dublin in 1998. When Dana International won, the place erupted with joy. Ah memories.

  • Cam

    I remember the episode of Beautiful People with her on it. Great show, and good luck to her! Good on the Isreali people for voting for a Transgender…here in the U.S. Adam Lambert wouldn’t even come out on Idol for fear of losing votes.

  • SKOC211

    Ok I don’t get it. I watched this video and the video of the song she sung and won with in 1998 and all I hear is heavy use of background singers to distract from an unremarkable and very nasally voice. Am I missing something?

    Granted she’s clearly a great role model and she’s putting out a positive message about transgendered individuals but strictly talking about the voice…

  • Mike

    SKOC211, my favorite the year Dana International won (1998) was Edsilia Rombley, a talented Aruban-Dutch singer. I don’t think Dana deserved to win that year and with this song she definitely doesn’t deserve to get it now.

    Edsilia’s song: (It’s in Dutch, back in 1998 the countries had to sing in their native languages; Edsilia returned to the contest in 2007 in English but did not place well…sad, I liked that one too)

  • Adonis-of-Fire

    I love “Diva”, it’s a fabulous song :)

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