Elton John Offers to Introduce Vladimir Putin to Gay People

V_putin

Over the weekend in a defense of the country's tolerance (cough) of homosexuality, Vladimir Putin told reporters that "Elton John is an outstanding person [and] outstanding musician. Millions of our people sincerely love him despite his orientation."

Elton_johnNow Elton John is responding to Putin's remarks, saying he is "deeply grateful" for the support of the Russian people, and offering to introduce Putin to gay people.

Elton released a statement on his website which reads, in part:

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. 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. As Maria Maksakova told her fellow Russian MPs last month: “We are seeing extremely negative consequences as a result of this law, with the growth of hate crimes.”

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. 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.

Comments

  1. Marc says

    My original thoughts on the Sochi Olympics were to boycott and disengage our energy and money from going to Russia. But Elton’s journey in this fight has changed my mind. He seems to tackle it head on. Instead of disengaging, he steps right into it and says, “Let’s talk.” Honestly, I think he’s got the best idea about all of this. Will he be able to talk sense into Putin? I have no idea. But maybe by engaging in this human rights debacle he will open some eyes and ear. People love him and they’ll at least listen to what he has to say. It can’t hurt. And if he can change some minds, those minds can change minds, and so on. His heart really seems to be with the oppressed people of Russia… and that’s something we can’t forget. There are people there who need our help. Through no fault of their own, they were born into a place that would one day punish them simply for being who they are. They need our help. While it’s easy to want to simply “rid” the world of Russia… it’s really not fair to the sane people living there. And because a large percentage of Russians believe in this ridiculous law, we need to engage with them and change their collective minds.
    It’s not easy. But it’s probably the best solution to this.
    I say, rock on Elton… you aren’t willing to back away from a fight when innocent people’s lives are at stake.

    That’s a hero.

  2. JackFknTwist says

    Elton, you had the opportunity of introducing fascist Putin to the ‘decent, kind, patriotic men and women’ you met in Moscow when you played there.
    They didn’t listen to you then; they won’t listen to you now.
    I might have had some respect for you if you read a more vehement of this speech out from the stage and furiously denounced Putin and his fascist laws and if you had denounced the right wing extremists of the Orthodox Church.
    But now, from the comfort of luxury in London you find your voice.
    Brave ? Not so much.
    Too little; too late ; too calm; too passive.

  3. Felix says

    Same as he did with Eminem? well, that went well…

    We don’t need a photo-op for Putin before Sochi. We need those anti-gay laws struck down by international pressure. Sadly, I don’t see that happening either.

  4. andrew says

    Elton John’s popularity with many Russian people may just give him the opportunity to be a kind of go between or mediator between Putin and the Russian LGBT community. The fact that Elton is a father may help to undermine the idea that gay people are a danger to children.

  5. JMC says

    This is not helpful, Putin is perfectly aware that gay people are harmless and knows exactly what he is doing.

  6. Ghost of Alexander Litvinenko says

    @JC: Putin is NOT gay!

    He’s a pedophile.

    We’ve been preaching that difference for years. Now learn it.

  7. Beautiful says

    Elton is doing more than the silly ineffectual queens here will ever do.

    It’s obvious who’s lazy and just sits around doing nothing but type crap, and who is actually making an effort.

    Really, I’m tired of the gay bashers in our own community who constantly express their own self-hate by projecting it onto everyone else who actually DO make a difference, pretending they have ANY influence.

    You’re deluded, go back to your pathetic lives and your couches, you do-nothing know-nothings !

  8. says

    The law DOESN”T link homosexuality with pedophilia, it’s only against propaganda of “nontraditional sexual relations” to children. Pedophilia is not mentioned.

    It was Putin himself who talked about the two together.

    Putin’s press secretary was asked if he planned to meet Elton, and he said there were no plans for him to initiate such a meeting, but he’s always happy to have a dialog. However he also said that Putin’s responses before “should satisfy Elton John’s interests, or anybody else’s.” In other words: there’s nothing more to say.

    http://www.gayrussia.eu/russia/8596/

  9. Hey Darlin' says

    How odd that this most recent “tolerance” coming out of Russia would coincide with the Olympics.

    As far as Putin needing introduction to gay people, he’s very aware they are en masse within his own country. What’s being done in Russia isn’t a product of the people of Russia so much as the political and religious climate there. One would assume the current regime is grasping by a thread to maintain power by the scapegoating going on currently and the inability to control fringe factions such as the Neo-Nazi party.

  10. Randy says

    Introduction is a directed thing. Introducing me to you is not the same as introducing you to me. Here, it is LGBT people that Elton wants to introduce to Putin, not the other way around.

    I don’t expect Putin to take Elton up on this offer, but I don’t think he was the intended audience of the message either.

    Good move.

  11. Sam says

    The sad reality would be, all those LGBT people that Elton would introduce him to would be off to prison after he left.

    Now give Putin a little boy and he will light up like a Christmas tree/

  12. galbanum says

    @ JackFknTwist; I was being sincere. I’ve mentioned once before how sometimes I’ll read a comment, look at the name, and see it belongs to you. It happens often enough that I’m compelled to throw you some praise. It kinda sucks you’d interpret my words as sarcasm; I tried to control for that.

    Best,

  13. Rick says

    “I’m developing a real brain-crush on JackFknTwist. I loves me some Jack insights.”

    I will offer yo some “insight” into JackFknTwist. He is an Irishman who hates all Englishmen and all things British. Period.

    Which explains his comment above.

  14. says

    @ GALBANUM :
    Thanks ….I guess one does not often get a nice comment here.
    Again thanks.

    @ RICK:
    You are a ghoul……..F O and haunt somewhere else.
    For the record, I don’t hate all things British, not at all……..but why bother engaging you……I’ve seen your ‘Glen Beck’ rants far too often to care. you’re a hater.

  15. Felix says

    @Beautiful

    I counted at least 9 name-calling expressions in your post. Way to go for someone who’s condemning negativeness.

  16. jama49 says

    Dear Elton,

    I have no objection to meeting Vladimir Putin. Really, I don’t. I’m sure you’ll find the same redeeming qualities in Vlady as you found in Rush Limbaugh. Of course, Rushy-poo paid you to find his redeeming qualities and Vlady paid you sort of indirectly by your recent concert in Russia.

    But, if I HAVE to meet Vlady, I prefer that he keep his shirt on (not into flabby man-boobs) and that he come dressed in a cement casing, ready to be tossed to the bottom of the Aral Sea.

    Actually, on second thought, Elton, I’ll pass.

  17. JackFknTwist says

    @ JAMAL 49 :

    And of course Elton was very persuasive and influential when he went to Apartheid South Africa, played at Sun City and single handedly changed the whole racist system.
    Je me souviens.

    Way to go Elton…..you are a marvel.

  18. bucko says

    best line from this…”Elton John is an outstanding person [and] outstanding musician. Millions of our people sincerely love him despite his orientation.”

    “despite” his orientation…really? Does the man not realize how much he sounds like a bigot?

  19. JoelD says

    Of course he doesn’t know he sounds like a bigot – he’s a bigot! That said, remember that the term for homosexual in Russian is “pederast”, with gai and gomosexual only recently finding favour among those who consciously choose to differentiate between the deeply imbedded, fear based view that gays are pedophiles and a more aware view that being gay and pedophilia have NOTHING to do with each other.

    I have met a couple of people in Putin’s circle and can say that they know gay folk in the sense that urbane sophisticates knew gay folk in the 50-60s in New York, as curiosities that are quite accepted, but really have no relevance or part in their world. It’s a Madmen kinda thing where Truman Capote would play the raconteur among people who delight in the risque exposure but find relief the moment the driver pulls up to take them home.

  20. Rob says

    Good lord, what an intelligent response from Elton John.

    I think the main issue, however, is right wing leaders whipping up sentiment against a scapegoat in order to consolidate their own power. Jews used to be the scapegoat, and now it’s the gays. Gay is the new Jew.

  21. jamal49 says

    @JACKFKNTWIST, je me souviens également. Probably better than you. And, seriously? Elton John plays apartheid South Africa and “…single handedly changed the whole racist system”? Surely, you are being sarcastic. Aren’t you? If you’re not, son, I remand you back to the history books and a little google research.