Sir Elton John offers to introduce Vladimir Putin to Russia’s gay community

The singer's statement follows the Russian President's call for gay tourists visiting the country during Sochi 2014 to "leave the children in peace"

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not a homophobe because he loves Sir Elton John and has friends that are gay, he claimed during a pre-Sochi charm offensive with Andrew Marr over the weekend.

But is he enough of a fan to accept Sir Elton’s offer to introduce him to members of the gay community in the country to show him the true impact his "deeply divisive" gay propaganda laws have had on their lives?

Hugh Laurie Refuses To Apologise For Call To Boycott Russian Vodka

In an open statement, the musician described what he learned from gay and lesbian Russians during a visit to Moscow in December, who had been attacked or threatened as a result of the controversial legislation.

"What I heard reinforced all the media stories that have been circling since the propaganda Bill became federal law: that vicious homophobia has been legitimised by this legislation and given extremists the cover to abuse people's basic human rights," he said.

"The people I met in Moscow - gay men and lesbians in their 20s, 30s and 40s - told me stories about receiving threats from vigilante groups who would 'cure' them of homosexuality by dousing them with urine or beating them up.

 

"One young man was stalked outside a gay club by someone posing as a taxi driver who tried to garrotte him with a guitar string because he was a 'sodomite'.

"Everyone shared stories of verbal and physical abuse - at work, in bars and restaurants or in the street - since the legislation came into force last June. And some of the vital work providing HIV prevention information to the gay community has been labelled 'homosexual propaganda' and shut down."

"It was very clear to me that, although foreigners like myself who are visiting Russia are not affected by this new law (and President Putin has recently confirmed this), it is a very different story for those living inside the country," he continued.

"President Putin asserts that this was not the intention, but it is undoubtedly the effect that this law has had by promoting misunderstanding and ignorance. In particular, it is very disappointing that the law explicitly links homosexuality with child sex abuse, which countless studies have shown to be conclusively wrong.

"The people I met in Moscow were decent, kind, patriotic men and women who had no thought of forcing their sexuality on anyone.

"Whatever the intention of Russia's homosexuality and paedophilia propaganda laws, I am absolutely clear from my own personal experience that it is proving deeply dangerous to the LGBT community and deeply divisive to Russian society."

Elton John is scheduled to perform in Russia this weekend by anti-gaw laws may stop him Elton John performed a string of dates in Russia in December, despite the anti-gay laws "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," he added.

As of yet, there has been no word from Sir Elton fan Putin on whether he will accept the singer’s offer.

The news comes after the President dismissed a Russian parent's committee's call to ban the musician from performing a string of dates in the country at the start of December 2013.

In an open letter, they argued that allowing Sir Elton to perform would thwart the anti-gay propaganda laws.

"The singer intends to come out in support of local sodomites and break the current Russian law, directed at protecting children," it read.

Another petition, by the Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods, referred to the planned gigs as an "amoral sabbath" and called Sir Elton's "support for gays and other perverts" an "insult to all Russian citizens".

The singer was told not to wear ”flamboyant“ clothes suggestive of his gay lifestyle on stage when he was set to play in the Russian region of Krasnodar in July 2013. The show was later cancelled when Sir Elton fell ill.

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics starts on 7 February. It’s said to have cost £30billion, making it the most expensive Games in Olympic history.

Last week, Putin reassured the world that gay people will not be harassed during Sochi and said that they "can feel relaxed and comfortable", but only before adding that they must "leave the children in peace".

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

SharePoint Administrator/Developer (C#, VB.NET, VISUAL STUDIO 2

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SharePoi...

European HR Director, London

£80000 - £95000 per annum: Charter Selection: A leading Global organisation Ja...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit