Madonna spoke out for gay rights at a
Thursday concert in St. Petersburg, defying city authorities who had
threatened to fine the pop star.
“We want to fight for the right to be
free,” she told the audience, most of whom were wearing pink
wristbands distributed at the door. Madonna urged them to “show
your love and appreciation to the gay community.”
Earlier this year, city leaders
approved a law which criminalizes “public actions aimed at
propaganda of pederasty, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism
St. Petersburg Assemblymember Vitaly
Milonov, the bill's author, reportedly
told the Interfax news agency that the gay icon would be punished
if she violated the law.
“Do we live in fear?” Madonna asked
the audience, who replied: “No!” (Video is embedded on this
our video library for more videos.)
Andre Banks, executive director of
AllOut.org, praised Madonna for making a statement: “Madonna has
been a stalwart supporter of LGBT rights and activist for artistic
expression for nearly 30 years. Today, however, she gave one of her
most provocative performances in her history – and the history of
the Russian Federation – in the name of freedom and in the name of
love … and for Madonna, that’s saying something.”
Local gay rights activists Polina
Savchenko celebrated Madonna's “courage to stand up to St.
Petersburg's outrageous and homophobic censorship law.”
According to Reuters, 74 people have
been fined for violating the law since it went into effect in March.