Sir Elton John has offered to take President Vladimir Putin to see members of Russia’s gay community.
In a statement released today, Sir Elton said that he would gladly take Putin to see Russia’s gay community, and “would welcome the opportunity to introduce President Putin to some Russians who deserve to be heard.”
He also again condemned the country’s anti-gay laws, and spoke about his visit to Russia last month saying: “The people I met in Moscow – gay men and lesbians in their 20s, 30s and 40s – 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.”
Russia passed a law in June 2013 banning distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors, which means gay people cannot express their views on LGBT rights to anyone under the age of 18.
On the issue of whether athletes or spectators at next month’s Winter Olympics could face arrest, President Putin said last Sunday: “Protest actions and propaganda are two slightly different things. Similar, but from a legal point of view, protesting against a law is not the same as propaganda for homosexuality or child abuse.”