27 Nobel Laureates have joined prominent actor Ian McKellen in publishing an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin in an effort to speak out against the country's anti-gay "propaganda" law and anti-LGBT violence.
Published exclusively through "The Independent," the letter bears the signatures of leading figures within the arts and sciences communities, reportedly including novelist JM Coetzee, geneticist Sir Paul Nurse and chemist Sir Harry Kroto.
The letter calls on Putin to change the country's ban on anti-gay "propaganda," which has led to a pervasive climate of fear and violence for members of the LGBT community living in Russia. An excerpt of the letter states,
This letter is written to indicate that many senior members of the international scientific community show solidarity with politicians, artists, sports people and many others who have already expressed their abhorrence for the Russian government’s actions against its gay citizens... Protest is never easy but we hope that by expressing opposition to the new legislation it might be possible to encourage the Russian State to embrace the 21st Century humanitarian, political and inclusive democratic principles which Mikhail Gorbachev worked so hard to achieve.
This isn't the first time McKellen has spoken out against Russia's anti-gay legislation and institutionalized homophobia. The actor, who has stated that the United Kingdom warned him about visiting Russia, previously spoke out against the country's anti-gay "propaganda" law while in New York last year and claimed that gay athletes should use the Olympics as a platform to take a stand rather than boycotting the Games.
Head here to read the letter in full.