France's young inspiration to LGBT teenagers all over is hoping to win this year's Eurovision Song Contest after he won over the public's vote to represent the country at the upcoming event in May.
19 year old Bilal Hassani, has grown into an internet sensation as he has proven critics wrong who initially dismissed him as merely an “Arab in a wig”. His winning song 'Roi' or King in english, has become a hit and won him more fans after his performance Saturday night.
The young Frenchman, whose family is of Moroccan origins, wrote on Instagram that he has been “a Eurovision addict since I was nine, as much for the artistry as for what it symbolizes: all the culture and differences that are brought together by music.”
His flair for drama, visible through his plethora of wigs-- each of which has a pet name-- comes across on his youtube channel where he has received messages of support following his win on Saturday.
One lady wrote "I am perhaps a bit too old to be looking at the station of a young 18 year old. But I must admit the video is very well put together and the voice is beautiful. To the criticism from others, skip over them, it's not worth the effort”.
Eurovision applauded by LGBT communities
Many from the LGBT community commend Eurovision for being gay-friendly beginning with the win in 2014 of Conchita Wurst from Austria.
In fact, for Hassani's audition at Eurovision, he redid a song by Wurst, an artist whom he considers as one of his idols.
But despite such steps forward for the community, homophobia and racism is still alive and very visible.
Hassani has had to deal with violent online hatred posts.
According to Urgence Homophobie , it has already found 1500 tweets linked to his sexual orientation or appearance that are insulting, threatening or discriminatory in nature.
In fact, the organization is working with Stop Homosphobie , another Ngo, to bring legal action against every person who has “insulted, threatened or discriminated against” the face of France's Eurovision this year.
In the meantime, Hassani will be preparing for this year's contest to be held in Tel Aviv in Israel, but already he has his debut album set to be released in the spring.