Elton John blasts Russia's anti-gay laws, offers to introduce Putin to gays victimized because of them
Gays told singer they received threats from vigilante groups who would ‘cure’ them of homosexuality by dousing them with urine or beating them up. Russian President Vladimir Putin described openly gay singer Elton John as 'an outstanding person [and] outstanding musician.'
Putin, interviewed by a small group of journalists over the weekend also said of the pop icon: 'Millions of our people sincerely love him despite his orientation.'
John, who performed concerts in Russia last month, has responded to Putin's remarks with a blistering indictment of the controversial anti-gay laws the leader has championed.
The singer stated on his website that the laws have led to violence towards gays.
'The people I met in Moscow - gay men and lesbians in their 20′s, 30′s and 40′s - told me stories about receiving threats from vigilante groups who would "cure" them of homosexuality by dousing them with urine or beating them up,' he shares.
John recalls one young man who he said 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,' John writes.
The HIV-AIDS philanthropist also claims that some of the work of providing HIV prevention information to the gay community has been labeled 'homosexual propaganda' and been shut down.
John is not at all encouraged that he was able to travel to Russia and perform there, speak out against the anti-gay laws and not have any problems.
'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 writes.
He also writes that the anti-gay propaganda law, which makes it a crime to publicly support homosexuality, has resulted in 'misunderstanding and ignorance.' He finds it particularly disappointing that the law explicitly links homosexuality with child sex abuse.
'The people I met in Moscow were decent, kind, patriotic men and women who had no thought of forcing their sexuality on anyone,' John writes. 'Whatever the intention of Russia’s homosexuality and pedophilia 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.'
John would be open to a return visit to the country but with a specific purpose in mind. '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.'
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