RUSSIA: Madonna Supports Gay Rights At St. Petersburg Concert, Stays A Free Diva
As she promised on Facebook yesterday, tonight's Madonna concert in St. Petersburg included a demand for respect for gay people. She was not arrested despite previous threats that she would be. Above is an excerpt from Madonna's speech to the audience, via Madonna Tribe.
Performing in black lingerie with the words "No Fear" scrawled on her bare back, Madonna urged the audience - most wearing pink wrist bands distributed at the door - to "show your love and appreciation to the gay community". "We want to fight for the right to be free," she said. The American singer has turned a two-concert tour into a platform for comment on Putin's Russia. Madonna had promised to use her St Petersburg show to speak out against legislation adopted by the city in March that imposes fines for spreading homosexual "propaganda" that could "damage the health, moral and spiritual development" of minors. On her Facebook page, she called the law a "ridiculous atrocity". Critics of the law - the model for a bill submitted to the national parliament - say they fear it could be used to clamp down on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, for instance by barring gay rights demonstrations. St. Petersburg police chief Sergei Umnov told local reporters in July that 74 people had been fined so far.
RELATED: Angry about her support for jailed anti-Putin punkers Pussy Riot, yesterday a small group of members of the Orthodox Church gathered across from Christ the Savior Cathedral to douse a Madonna poster with gasoline and set it ablaze.
"We are not against her as a person, we are against the sacrilege and blasphemy she is committing, just like we are against the blasphemy performed by Pussy Riot in Christ the Savior Cathedral," he explained. Simonovich went on to explain why the poster of Madonna they were burning was blasphemous, calling her look "disgusting" and accusing her of "black magic." "We are destroying this image to drive a demon out of it," he proclaimed before his supporters set the poster on fire. "She is going to hell!" Simonovich said after the poster was destroyed, but reiterated that his group is not against Madonna in particular and if she repents, they will accept her repentance. "We are going to fight against all such Madonnas, Pussy Riots, and all others who practice black magic and insult the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian nation," he proclaimed at the end of proceedings.