Prestigious Vienna Opera Ball allows gay couple to participate for first time
"I like to play into female and male facets the way I want," said Grau, one member of the lesbian pair, who hopes to 'use' their appearance 'positively to draw attention to LGBTQ issues. However, expert on traditional Austrian culture criticized the opening of the Vienna Opera Ball for being used to push a certain political agenda.
The prestigious Vienna Opera Ball dates back to the early 19th century. The annual event in Vienna, which took place this week, February 20, features various traditional dances, drawing high-profile members of society, for instance the Austrian president.
“We were aware that our appearance would probably attract attention. We did not intend that, but we try to use it positively to draw attention to LGBTQ issues,” Sophie Grau und Iris Klopfer told Austrian newspaper Kurier.
Grau planned to dress like a man, in traditional black evening attire, while Klopfer wore a white dress like all the other women. In addition to being in a homosexual relationship, Grau claims to be “a non-binary person.”
“I like to play into female and male facets the way I want. At the ball, male facets will come to the fore. I also think the clothes are a costume for all debutantes, because they aren’t everyday outfits for anyone,” Grau said.
However, Alexander Tschugguel, president of the St. Boniface Institute and an expert on traditional Austrian culture, criticized the opening of the Vienna Opera Ball for being used to push a certain political agenda. The participation of Grau and Klopfer displays “total ignorance towards our culture of balls,” he added.
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