USUALLY, the Eurovision Song Contest is one of the biggest nights in the calendar for LGBT+ venues and performers across Scotland.

The excitement surrounding the event sees fans flock to bars for viewing parties, which often include performances from drag queens, musicians and even the odd tribute act.

But the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) decision to allow Israel to compete in the competition despite concerns from the United Nations that the country may be committing war crimes in Gaza has caused uproar amongst the fanbase.

Thousands have vowed to boycott the event and UK viewing figures for the first semi-final saw half a million fewer people tune in when compared to last year.

Many of Scotland’s most popular LGBT+ venues such as CC Blooms in Edinburgh have confirmed that they will not be showing or celebrating the event.

But where does this leave the performers for whom Eurovision represents a regular income stream?

‘I can’t afford my bills’

Alice Rabbit is one of Scotland’s most successful drag queens and a well-known figure in Edinburgh’s LGBT+ scene.

In an increasingly competitive market for paid work as a drag queen she was due to host a Eurovision party before the EBU confirmed that Israel would be allowed to compete.

“I was supposed to host a Eurovision show for an Edinburgh charity,” she told The National.

“Myself and the charity were messaged – borderline harassed – until we cancelled the event.

READ MORE: Stirling set to host its first ever LGBT+ Pride event

“Because of that loss of money, I can’t afford my bills”.

Fellow Edinburgh-based drag queen Mystika Glamoor added that while she supports the boycott, Eurovision’s decision was clearly having an impact on LGBT+ artists.

“I know many people who were either going to be hosting or performing at Eurovision parties,” she said.

“After lots of discussions with Palestinian activists, we can all understand why that’s not a good idea.

“But the decision to allow Israel to attend is frankly ridiculous.

“They’re saying it’s not about politics, it’s about the music.

“But that doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny when there’s the prime example of them banning Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

“Eurovision is always political. It’s almost like a metaphor for European politics.

“But at this point I don’t even know if it can ever recover from this because we now know where the interests of this organisation lie.”

‘Solidarity isn’t transactional’

She added that the boycott had helped awaken some LGBT+ people to the struggles of those in Palestine.

“It’s reminded people that this is a similar fight to our own,” said Glamoor.

“That we got our rights through similar means – boycotts, protests, direct action.

“Of course, some people will say that there are no LGBT+ rights in Palestine but solidarity isn’t transactional.”

Another performer, who did not wish to be identified, said they were “proud” to see so many artists and venues commit to a boycott.

READ MORE: Eurovision: Why pro-Palestine campaigners are boycotting this year

“It’s obviously upsetting to miss it. Eurovision means a lot to people and it’s always such a fun night.

“But it does make me proud to see people say they won’t be watching it even if it comes at price personally or for their business.

“I’m losing out on a gig but ultimately that’s nothing compared to the suffering of innocent people in Palestine right now”.

It comes after Israel’s Eurovision entry Eden Golan was booed by crowds during the semi-final.