Gay campaigners welcome Sir Elton’s support

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Activists have welcomed Sir Elton John’s support for gay campaigns after he pledged his support for gay rights.

In an interview with The Observer Music Monthly, the gay artist backed a gay pride concert in Moscow, where a gay rights meeting was plagued with violence earlier this year.

Sir Elton said: “What we should be doing as musicians is trying to bring people together. The idea for a ‘Gay Pride’ concert in Moscow is a brilliant idea.”

Detailing his commitment to the gay community, he told the paper, “I’m going to fight for them whether I do it silently behind the scenes or so vocally that I get locked up. I can’t just sit back; it’s not in my nature any more. I’m nearly 60-years-old after all. I can’t sit back and blindly ignore it and I won’t.”

Gay campaigner, Peter Tatchell, welcomed the remarks, “You can trust Elton to speak out against homophobia, he doesn’t put up with bigoted nonsense. It is great to see him becoming increasingly committed to defending gay human rights worldwide.

“I would love Elton to one day write a catchy, popular gay anthem that hits number one around the globe. Perhaps he could premiere it at Moscow Pride 2007.

He described Sir Elton as a “powerful force for gay emancipation.”

Last May, Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov banned a march that was scheduled to be the first-ever Moscow Gay Pride. Despite the official ban, backed by local court, the organisers took the streets in Moscow where they were attacked by groups of fascist, skinheads, orthodox priests before being arrested by the police.

In addition, Member of the German Bundestag, Volker Beck, was injured.

Nikolai Alekseev, one of the organisers of the parade, who was in London to receive an courage award from the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, said the interest of Elton John for a Gay Pride concert in Moscow has already generated the interest of several sponsors.

He said such an event would become “a real barometer of tolerance in Russian society.”

“This event is not about making a good deal, we just want to create a popular event to invite straight people to come to party with us and see that we are, in fact, not different,” he added.

Sir Elton John’s support for Eastern European gay activists is not new. In July 2005, he signed an article in the Guardian about growing homophobia in Europe. A year later, he was the patron of the London EuroPride that put on the spotlight the organisers of LGBT events in Eastern Europe.

Then, when he appeared at the Sopot Festival in Poland in September he said during the concert, “I’m just a performer who plays people some music. I hope that my music helps people to forget about their problems for few hours. But I’m also a gay man and I’ve heard that gay people face violence in Poland. Leave us [gays] alone. We don’t want to harm anybody. We just want to love and be loved.”