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Elton John Sticks it to Russia's Antigay Law in Front of Thousands

Elton John Sticks it to Russia's Antigay Law in Front of Thousands

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Invoking Tchaikovsky, Tim Cook, and even the iPad, pop's megastar minced no words in calling out the absurd brutality of Russia's ban on so-called homosexual propaganda during a concert in St. Petersburg.

Sir Elton John has done it again, asking Russians at a concert in St. Petersburg to reconsider the homophobic, draconian ban on so-called gay propaganda that President Vladimir Putin signed into law last year.

This time, the out Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer-songwriter invoked the name of beloved Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, who is believed to have been gay, reports The Moscow Times

"Is Tchaikovsky's beautiful music 'sexually perverting?" the British-born pop star asked the crowd. John's rhetorical question was a direct attack on the 2013 Russian law that criminalizes any public expression that could be construed as "distribution of information that is aimed at the formation among minors of nontraditional sexual attitudes, attractiveness of non-traditional sexual relations, misperceptions of the social equivalence of traditional and non-traditional sexual relations, or enforcing information about non-traditional sexual relations that evokes interest to such relations."

Rocket Man Wants to Know if an iPad Makes You Gay

Sir John, 67, also took his performance as an opportunity to lambast the recent removal of a statue commemorating Apple founder Steve Jobs in St. Petersburg, just days after Jobs's successor, Apple CEO Tim Cook, came out as gay last month.

"Can this be true?" John asked the crowd. "Steve's memory is rewritten because his successor at Apple, Tim Cook, is gay? Does that also make iPads 'gay propaganda'?"

Not the First Time Sir John Slammed Russia's Antigay Laws

Sir Elton John dedicated a 2013 concert in Moscow to murdered gay Russian youth Vladislav Tornovoi, who was just 23 when he was raped and murdered after coming out as gay.

"You took me to your hearts all these years ago, and you've always welcomed me with warmth and open arms any time I've visited," John said from the Moscow stage. "You have always embraced me and you have never judged me. So I am deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation that is now in place against the LGBT community here in Russia. In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating. People have demanded that because of this legislation, I must not come here to Russia. But many, many more people asked me to come and I listened to them. I love coming here."

The out musician even went so far as to invite President Putin to join him in meeting some of his country's LGBT people in person.

"I would welcome the opportunity to introduce President Putin to some Russians who deserve to be heard, and who deserve to be treated in their own country with the same respect and warm welcome that I received on my last visit," John said in a statement released after the 2013 concert.

There's no indication that Putin ever replied to that invitation.

St. Petersburg: The Birthplace of Modern Russian Homophobia

Russia's second-largest city was the first to enact a local ordinance banning so-called gay propaganda, years before a similar law took hold nationwide. In fact, the federal legislation that took effect last year was modeled after the St. Petersburg ordinance, which was drafted by municipal lawmaker Vitaly Milonov — notably the first to demand a lifelong ban on Apple CEO Tim Cook's entrance into Russia the very day Cook came out. 

In July the Human Rights Campaign unveiled an enlightening report documenting the marked increase in violence and oppression against LGBT people in Russia that followed the ban on gay propaganda's enactment a year earlier.

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Thom Senzee

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Ryan is the Digital Director of The Advocate Channel, and a graduate of NYU Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing. She is also a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. While her specialties are television writing and comedy, Ryan is a young member of the LGBTQ+ community passionate about politics and advocating for all.

Ryan is the Digital Director of The Advocate Channel, and a graduate of NYU Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing. She is also a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. While her specialties are television writing and comedy, Ryan is a young member of the LGBTQ+ community passionate about politics and advocating for all.