Eurovision champion Duncan Laurence has shared an important message of acceptance following his win.
The bisexual 25-year-old is the Netherlands entry to the popular music contest where he performed his powerful ballad Arcade.
The singer-songwriter and former contestant on The Voice Of Holland sent a message in support of the LGBTI community. He explained people should be seen for ‘who they are’ regardless of their sexuality and gender identity.
As 2018 winner Netta handed him the iconic Eurovision glass microphone trophy, Laurence said: ‘I think the most important thing is that you stick to who you are and see yourself as I see myself, as I see Sergey, as I see Chris, as I see you, just a human being.’
‘As a person who has talents, who, with this trophy, will in however many years stick to what they love – even if they have a different sexuality.’
He furthermore added: ‘Stick to what you love and make the best of it, and love people for who they are. That’s the most important message. Dream big.’
Asked how his victory felt, he replied: ‘First of all I get to meet Netta, that was the best present, and then I got this trophy from her.’
‘No words, this can’t be described in words – and I can’t write a song about this. I can’t tell this in words. I am so happy right now. It came through, it really came through.’
Laurence had previously come out publicly during a press conference on 17 May.
When asked by a journalist what qualifying for the final meant to him, Duncan said: ‘What it means to me personally is – before this all started, I was a songwriter who wrote songs from his bedroom and this chance means to me that I can show myself as an artist, but also as a human being, I stand for things.’
Then he said: ‘I am more than just an artist, I am a person, I am a living being, I’m bisexual, I’m a musician, I stand for things. And I’m proud that I get the chance to show what I am, who I am.’
This year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which took place in Tel Aviv, was one of the most controversial yet. More than 60 queer and trans liberation organizations called for a boycott over the treatment of Palestinians.
The contest in Tel Aviv saw Madonna perform her new single Future, from Madame X, and 1989 classic Like A Prayer.