Sir Elton John, one of the world's most prominent gay entertainers, performed in Moscow, Russia tonight and from the stage condemned Russia's draconian crackdown on the basic rights and freedoms of LGBT people.
Blogger extraordinaire Joe Jervis broke the story and transcribed Sir Elton's remarks as follows:
"You took me to your hearts all these years ago and you've always welcomed me with warmth and open arms any 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. In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating. 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.
"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 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."
By speaking out tonight, Sir Elton broke a Russian law banning public discussion of homosexuality, which the Putin government calls "gay propaganda." He technically could face jail time and deportation, but it's highly unlikely that Russian authorities will take action against him due to the international outcry that would result.
Bravo, Sir Elton, for bravely speaking out for equality.
Video of Sir Elton's remarks onstage in Moscow is embedded after the jump. The footage was captured by Evgeny Pisemskiy and made publicly available on Facebook.