Elton John spoke out against Russia's controversial "gay propaganda" legislation during a performance in St. Petersburg this week.
The legendary superstar, 62, pointed to St. Petersburg's removal of a memorial to Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs after Jobs' successor, Tim Cook, came out as gay.
"How dignified that St. Petersburg should erect a memorial to Steve Jobs, the remarkable founder of Apple," John told the crowd in his speech, the text of which appeared on his Facebook page. "But last week it was labeled ‘homosexual propaganda’ and taken down!"
He went on to note:
Can this be true? Steve’s memory is re-written because his successor at Apple, Tim Cook, is gay?! Does that also make iPads gay propaganda?! Is Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music "sexually perverting"?!
As a gay man, I’ve always felt so welcome here in Russia. Stories of Russian fans -- men and women who fell in love dancing to "Nikita" or their kids who sing along to "Circle of Life" -- mean the world to me.
"If I’m not honest about who I am, I couldn’t write this music," he then added. "It’s not gay propaganda. It’s how I express life. If we start punishing people for that, the world will lose its humanity."
It isn't the first time that John has come out in defense of Russia's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. In 2013, he told a Moscow audience that he was "sad to learn" about the anti-gay law, which bans what it calls "homosexual propaganda" to minors, Interfax and AFP reported at the time.