Elton John, whose new album The Diving Board is scheduled to be released on September 24 is going to promote it in Moscow. “At my age I can do what I want,” he says about his music. But this freedom of expression applies to his life as well. He wants to support gay rights in Russia whatever the cost is going to be.
Sir Elton John is going more honest and personal not only with his music as he pronounced in 2010, but with his life-long fight for gay rights. After considering options to cancel his concert in Moscow that is scheduled for December 6 2013, he decided to take a risk and openly show his support to gays in Russia.
“I don’t know what is going to happen” he said to The Guardian about his future trip, admitting that cancelling the concert would be like leaving Russian gays all alone:
“I’ve got to go. And I’ve got to think about what I’m going to say very carefully. There’re two avenues of thought: do you stop everyone going, ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you’re really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the anti-gay laws in an isolated situation. As a gay man, I can’t leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them.”
Elton John personally knows about gay discrimination on the post Soviet territory. In 2009 he fell for a Ukrainian infant – a 14-month old HIV-positive boy named Lev and wanted to adopt him. For little Lev it would have been a miracle since it is very rare that Ukrainian families adopt children, especially with AIDS, but Elton John was denied due to his age and his gay partnership. At that time Sir Elton decided to work on changing the gay legislation in the Ukraine. His visit to Moscow is a continuation of his agenda.
How is Moscow going to treat him?
The only concert is going to be held in the Crocus City Hall – the same place that is going to host Miss Universe 2013 in November. But the more fans Elton John is going to gather the bigger problems he might face. There are already some comments on the Russian web discussing the legal points of Elton John’s performance qualifying as anti-gay propaganda. Violation of the law by a foreigner might be punishable by a fine or up to 15 day’s detention with a deportation order from Russia.
Madonna was facing a $10.7 million Russian court charge in November 2012 for public support of gay rights she showed during her Saint Petersburg concert. She ignored the calls to be present in the court, but anyway was cleared. Still she faces charges for violating the terms of her visa. The same charges were placed on to Lady Gaga, who supported gay rights during her concert in December 2012.
While Madonna and Lady Gaga performed in Russia before Putin signed the anti-gay law, Sir Elton John is going to be the first pop star to visit Russia and openly support gay rights after the law was signed, and so he is the first to try the weight of Russian justice system. He is diving into the unknown.
By Alsu Salakhutdinov