Elton John calls for an end to harassment of gays in Ukraine

British pop star Elton John used an AIDS charity concert in Kyiv to call for an end to violence against LGBTs in the former Soviet republic

Elton John calls for an end to harassment of gays in Ukraine
01 July 2012

British pop star Elton John has used an AIDS charity concert in Kyiv on Saturday to call on Ukraine to stop the persecution of LGBT people.

The two hour concert was part of the Euro 2012 soccer tournament co-hosted by Ukraine.

John spoke to fans about gay bashings he had been reading about in the country.

‘Recently I read about violence against gay people in Ukraine. Beating up gay people is wrong. This for me does not symbolize Ukraine,’ John said.

‘I plead with you: Stop the violence against gay people.’

Before performing in concert in Kiev on Saturday night (June 30) Elton John met a leading Ukrainian LGBT rights activist who was brutally attacked after the city’s gay pride parade was stopped at short notice.

Svyatoslav Sheremet was beaten about the head and body by thugs wearing surgical masks shortly after the police refused to the pride march in Kyiv on 20 May which he was organizing.

John particularly called on the country not to introduce law 8711 which would ban ‘propaganda’ about homosexuality.

He said: ‘It should never be a crime to be a different color, or a different religion or a different sexual orientation. We are all god’s children. We all deserve a chance. And I plead with you Ukraine, stop the violence against gay people and say no to law 8711.’

The Ukrainian parliament is due to debate law 8711 this week. It would make all public discussion of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights illegal.

The United Nations has condemned the new law saying it would amount to state-promoted discrimination against LGBT people and would violate a large number of rights protected under treaties signed by Ukraine.

Elton John was joined backstage by Lance Price, executive director of the international LGBT human rights organization, the Kaleidoscope Trust.

Price said: ‘It is sad that Ukraine, which was the first former Soviet republic to decriminalize homosexuality should now be threatening to imprison gay people again.’

The organizers of the Kiev pride parade warmly welcomed John’s decision to speak out.

Taras Karasiichuk, chairman of the organizing committee, said: ‘If the proposed law 8711 is passed it would be illegal for Elton John to stand on a stage and speak up for gay rights. This legislation would deprive LGBT people of the human rights that everybody should be entitled to. It would leave us open to more violence and attacks.’

Karasiichuk was himself a victim of a homophobic attack close to his home last week, which left him with a broken jaw.



No thumbnail available

Being old and gay in the Golden State

Newly published guide gives California's LGBT senior citizens help in nagivating the system
No thumbnail available

Chart topping Brazilian singer comes out with wedding photos

The popular Brazilian singer Daniela Mercury, posts pictures of new wife on Instagram saying Malu is 'my inspiration to sing'
No thumbnail available

World Pride conference to focus on ending gay sex bans

Six activists from around the world will talk about LGBT rights in the Commonwealth at World Pride event in London
No thumbnail available

Half of EU believe gay and trans hate is history

New European survey reveals perceptions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender discrimination
No thumbnail available

Former Ireland rugby star who claimed 'homosexual people' have no interest in sports is now apologizing

Neil Francis: On reflection, I would like to withdraw those comments and apologise profusely and unreservedly'
No thumbnail available

Hulk Hogan sues ex-wife over gay claim

Wrestler Hogan says Linda Bollea's claims he had gay affairs are insane
Veteran activist takes Taiwan to court over gay marriage

Veteran activist takes Taiwan to court over gay marriage

Qi Jia-wei alleges Washington, Beijing and the Vatican stand in the way of gay marriage in Taiwan
No thumbnail available

Former college football player, 21, gets probation for stalking his 71-year-old ex, David Geffen

Jamie Ralph Kuntz must stay at least 200 yards away from  billionaire mogul for 10 years
No thumbnail available

Michael Fassbender on gay sex scene in Shame

Why Michael Fassbender's predominantly heterosexual character in Shame ends up in a gay bath house
No thumbnail available

Human Rights Campaign: Arkansas is closed for business

With campaigners emphasizing that big business is opposed to the legislation, pressure continues to be applied to Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson to veto the state’s ‘religious freedom’ bill