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2024 Eurovision Winner Nemo Says Non-Binary Flag Wasn't Allowed In The Arena

ABOVE: Switzerland's Nemo during the 2024 Eurovision flag ceremony on Saturday, May 11 (Photo: instagram/eurovision)

2024 Eurovision Winner Nemo Says Non-Binary Flag Wasn’t Allowed In The Arena

The Eurovision winner had to “smuggle” their white, yellow, black and purple non-binary flag into the arena on Saturday before appearing on stage with it…

Switzerland’s Nemo won the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest held in Malmo, Sweden on Saturday, May 11, becoming the first artist identifying as non-binary to claim victory, in a competition marked by controversy over Israel’s participation during the war in Gaza. Nemo’s “The Code” won the highest score from nations’ juries, and enough of the popular votes to get 591 points, edging out Croatia’s Baby Lasagna, who finished second with 547 points.

Twenty-four-year-old Nemo’s journey towards realizing their non-binary gender identity served as the inspiration for the highly personal winning entry. Nemo announced they are non-binary in November and revealed that the song was a nod to their identity, while they also detailed their pride over representing anyone out there who is non-binary, gender-fluid, or transgender.

“‘The Code’ is about the journey I started with the realization that I am neither a man nor a woman,” Nemo said.

The Swiss rapper and multi-instrumentalist is show’s first non-binary victor.

Twenty-five nations competed in the Saturday finale, but much of the focus has centred on the controversy of Israel being able to take part. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the organizers behind Eurovision, had banned all flags other than those of the participating countries to avoid additional conflict, but during the show’s introduction Nemo appeared on stage to represent their country holding a white, yellow, black and purple flag – also known as the non-binary flag.

Asked about their non-binary flag and reports that fans had been barred from bringing non-binary flags (or Palestinian flags in protest) into the Malmo arena, Nemo branded it “unbelievable” and suggested that the EBU had a “double standard.”

“I had to smuggle my flag in because Eurovision said no, but I did it anyway, so I hope some people did that too,” they said during a press conference after the win. “But, I mean, come on, this is clearly a double standard.”

They added that “maybe Eurovision needs a little bit of fixing.”

After Nemo won the contest, there seems to have been a bit of a change of heart over at the EBU…at least in regards to the non-binary flag. The official Eurovision Song Contest instagram account shared shared a photo of Nemo holding the flag with the caption “non-binary finery.”

Nemo is already using their victory to help call for more acceptance and rights for non-binary people, including the possibility of choosing a third option when registering one’s gender. The Swiss musician, who doesn’t identify with either the male or female gender and who uses the pronouns they/them, made this demand several times after their victory.

RELATED:
10 LGBTQ+ Eurovision Artists From The Past Decade You Should Listen To
Listen To The 8 LGBTQ+ Acts Competing In Eurovision 2024

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