Dedicating his concert in Moscow last night to Vladislav Tornovoi, a 23 year old gay man who was brutally murdered when he came out to people he thought were his friends, Elton John answered critics who doubted his motives or questioned his decision to perform in an increasingly hostile Russia.
You took me to your hearts all these years ago and you've always welcomed me with warmth and open arms every 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. Frankly, it is inhumane and it is isolating. Some 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.Just the day before Elton John performed, the highest court in Russia upheld as constitutional their recent anti-gay legislation that has had far reaching implications for the safety of the Russian LGBT community. The timing of Sir Elton John's remarks from that stage in Moscow couldn't have been any more poignant, courageous or needed.
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 happy 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.
There has been a lot of controversy lately about celebrities and corporations involved with Russia and rightfully so. There is deliberate blindness and outright greed involved by people who refuse to acknowledge what is happening to our LGBT brothers and sisters in Russia. But there are also people working in good faith to bring a message of solidarity and hope for a better future. There is no question in my mind that Elton John did just that last night.
Thank you, Sir Elton John.