Sir Elton John has voiced his opposition to Russian anti-homosexual laws during a show in Moscow.
Introduced earlier this year, Russia's anti-homosexuality laws have provoked an international outcry. A number of high profile artists have refused to tour the country, while those that do often encounter a backlash from their own fan base.
Sir Elton John intended to play a number of Russian concerts this summer. Cancelled due to illness, the pianist finally began the controversial dates this month.
Playing a show in Moscow, the iconic songwriter addressed concerns over the anti-homosexuality laws during a show in Moscow. Stopping the concert, the singer gave an emotional speech in which he praised his Russian fans and dedicated the show to Vladislav Tornovoi - a gay man murdered by drinking companions earlier this year.
The speech in full:
“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. 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."
"I want to show them and the world that I care and that I don’t believe in isolating people. Music is a very powerful thing. It brings people together irrespective of their age, their race, their sexuality, or their religion. It does not discriminate. Look around you tonight. You see men, women, young and old, gay and straight. Thousands of Russian people enjoying the music. We’re all here together in harmony and harmony is what makes a happy family and a strong society."
"The spirit we share tonight is what builds a future of equality, love and compassion for my children and for your children. Please don’t leave it behind when you leave tonight. Each and every one of you please, keep this spirit in your life and in your heart. I wish you love and peace and health and happiness. And this show is dedicated to the memory of Vladislav Tornovoi."
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