Eurovision 2014 Contestant Conchita Wurst
Eurovision 2014 Contestant Conchita WurstEurovision / Thomas Ramfoster

Drag queen singer Conchita Wurst will represent Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Wurst, whose real name is Thomas Neuwirth, will perform in the second semi-final on 8 May with the song: Rise Like A Phoenix.

The 25-year-old Austrian singer has been described as a symbol of tolerance and artistic freedom in Austria.

She has nearly 40,000 Facebook fans and is undoubtedly one the favourite candidates of this year's contest.

"I'm so thankful and privileged to live the life I do," she said in an interview on Eurovision website. "And that's because there are people out there who care of what I do. Thank you so much for that."

Not everybody, however, seems to support the performer, who says her aim is to defeat prejudice and homophobia by participating in an international song content.

Russia, which sparked international outcry when it promulgated an anti-gay law which punishes homosexual propaganda last year, was the first to hurl abuse at the singer.

St Petersburg legislator Vitaly Milonov wrote a letter to Russia's Eurovision selection committee asking it not to send Russian musicians to the 2014 competition in Copenhagen in May.

Calling the event a "Europe-wide gay parade", Milonov argued that Russian performers' participation would "contradict the path of cultural and moral renewal that Russia stands on today".

According to Reuters, a petition from All-Russian Parent Meeting group calling for Russian authorities to remove Eurovision from broadcast in the country has been signed by more than 15,000 people.

Wurst has also been the subject of a homophobic Facebook group, 'NEIN zu Conchita Wurst beim Song Contest' ('NO to Conchita Wurst for Song Contest'), created after Austria announced it was going to send a drag queen for this year's Eurovision contest.

The charismatic singer, however, is not discouraged by the homophobic attacks and seems strongly determined to spread messages of peace and tolerance.

"I really hope that I get the chance to change some minds all around Europe," she said. "I want to show them that you can look whatever you want and that everybody must have the right to live their life however they want it, if nobody gets hurt."