Elton John wants to discuss gay rights with Putin over tea

Elton John wants to discuss gay rights with Putin over tea
Sir Elton John in 2009 (Image: Ernst Vikne under a CC licence)

14 September 2015

Sir Elton John has expressed his wish to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to talk about what he describes as “prejudice” against gay people in Russia.

The legendary singer made this statement after speaking in Ukraine at the YES Ukraine 2015 conference on LGBT rights, where he lobbied Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on the issue.

“I’d love to meet him [President Putin],” he told the BBC, “It's probably pie in the sky, but I’d love to meet him and say, ‘Come on, let’s have a cup of tea, let’s talk about this.’ He may laugh behind my back when he shuts the door, and call me an absolute idiot, but at least I can have a conscience, to say I tried.”

Sir Elton revealed what he would say if such a meeting were to arise: “I would tell him gay people are not the problem of the world. [I’d say] be accepting, let’s all pull together to solve the problems of the world — but don’t isolate and don’t be prejudiced against gay people.”

A strong critic of Russia’s “gay propaganda” law, the singer has said that he “likes Russians” and believes that boycotting Russia may only serve to increase the feeling of isolation of the country’s LGBT community.

Homosexuality is legal in Russia, but under the “gay propaganda” law, which was introduced in 2013, it is not permitted to spread information aimed at minors that may cause a “distorted understanding” that gay and heterosexual relations are “socially equivalent”.