Sir Elton John has said that he
traveled to Russia to help people there see gays as human.
From a Moscow stage last weekend, the
openly gay John denounced the government's increasingly hostile
stance against LGBT rights and dedicated his show to the memory of
Vladislav Tornovoi, a 23-year-old man from Volgograd who
was murdered after he came out gay to two friends.
John told the crowd that music has the
power to overcome prejudice.
In a blog post, John explained why
he decided to travel to Russia and speak out against the nation's law
which prohibits the promotion of “gay propaganda” to minors.
“In Moscow I spent hours with gay
activists, federal doctors, human rights lawyers and people living
with HIV,” John
wrote. “They told me that since the new legislation has been
adopted it's getting harder and harder to deliver basic HIV
information or healthcare to gay men for fear of seeming to 'promote'
homosexuality, which is against the law. Gay people lie even to
their children about their sexuality, in case it jeopardizes their
“That night at my concert I made a
statement, directly to the audience, about how sad, shocking and
isolating this new law seemed to me. A young woman with a rainbow
banner cheered. I realized then, with thousands of Russians cheering
for a man they know to be gay, that I had made the right decision. I
believe the Russian people are decent and will be persuaded – but
they need to hear us, and see we are human. They can't do that from
a distance of two thousand miles.”
John, a vocal AIDS activist, added:
“Saving people from HIV is worth taking a risk for, and there is
nothing that fuels the AIDS epidemic more effectively than stigma and