Speaking during his show in St Petersburg, Elton John said that if people are punished for being gay then ‘the world will lose its humanity’
Elton John has spoken out against Russian homophobia during a concert in St Petersburg. The singer criticised the fact that the city’s statue of Apple founder Steve Jobs had been taken down following revelations that the company’s current CEO, Tim Cook, is gay. John expressed concern that “if we start punishing people for that, the world will lose its humanity”.
According to a post on the singer’s Facebook page, John told the crowd: “How dignified that St Petersburg should erect a memorial to Steve Jobs, the remarkable founder of Apple. But last week it was labelled ‘homosexual propaganda’ and taken down! Steve’s memory is rewritten because his successor at Apple, Tim Cook, is gay?! Does that also make iPads gay propaganda?! Is Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music ‘sexually perverting’?!”
He continued: “As a gay man, I’ve always felt so welcome here in Russia. Stories of Russian fans – men and women who fell in love dancing to Nikita, or their kids who sing along to Circle of Life – mean the world to me. If I’m not honest about who I am, I couldn’t write this music. It’s not gay propaganda. It’s how I express life.”
This was not the first time John has criticised homophobic attitudes in Russia. In 2013, he condemned anti-gay laws during a concert in Moscow, whereas in January he addressed Vladimir Putin during a post on his website: “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.”
Elton John is on tour in Europe, before a residency in Las Vegas in 2015. His most recent album, The Diving Board, was released in 2013.
This article was written by Tim Jonze, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 11th November 2014 08.40 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010