Dana International, born February 2 1969 in Tel Aviv, won Eurovision 1998 with the infectious pop anthem ‘Diva’. Dana continues to perform, record and also advocate for LGBTIQ+ rights, frequently appearing at Pride events.
Scroll down to check out the red hot 2018 version of ‘Diva’.
Dana International wanted to become a pop singer from the age of eight when she saw an Israeli singer perform in Eurovision on television. After coming out as transgender at 13, she later began her singing career in drag shows. Discovered by a well-known Israeli DJ at 18, she soon launched into a successful recording career.
Following a run of hits, she was chosen to represent Israel in Eurovision 1998.
The press loved her. The Melbourne Age spoke of her profoundly affecting people and praised “the humour with which she faces a hostile world.”
But Israel’s ultra-conservative extremists were thoroughly pissed.
“Dana is an abomination. Even in Sodom, there was nothing like it,” said the deputy minister for health, a rabbi.
Dana International took it in her stride.
“They can find what they want in the Bible.”
The Israeli Broadcasting Commission, responsible for choosing the Israeli entrant, also defied the religious bigots. The chairman of the commission described her song as ‘far and away the best’ of the entries.
“We checked only the body of the song, not of the singer.”
Eurovision is the naffest thing on earth
As a fan since childhood, Dana understood both the crazy of Eurovision and the potential impact on her career.
“I know that Eurovision is the naffest thing on earth. But it still gives you a big, beautiful international stage. Winning could make an enormous difference to my career. Look at ABBA.”
So, in May 1998, Dana International represented Israel at Eurovision 1998 at Bermingham England and won.
“My victory proves God is on my side. I want to send my critics a message of forgiveness and say to them: try to accept me and the kind of life I lead. I am what I am and this does not mean I don’t believe in God, and I am part of the Jewish Nation.”
Viva Dana International!
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