Last week in St. Petersburg, Russia, a giant iPhone statue in memory of Steve Jobs was vandalised and torn down after the new head of Apple (Tim Cook) came out as gay. It was claimed that the memorial was removed in accordance with laws that prohibit “gay propaganda”.
At the Elton John AIDS Foundation, we know that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) discrimination fuels the HIV epidemic. Anti-gay policies have slowed HIV prevention efforts in Russia and infection rates are worryingly on the increase.
Performing in St. Petersburg yesterday, our founder Elton John spoke out about this recent homophobic act. Here is an extract from his speech.
“ I’m not big on technology, but I love my iPad! They’re amazing, aren’t they? The way they can connect us to the things and people we love.
How dignified that St Petersburg should erect a memorial to Steve Jobs, the remarkable founder of Apple. But last week it was labelled ‘homosexual propaganda’ and taken down!
Can this be true? Steve’s memory is re-written because his successor at Apple, Tim Cook, is gay?! Does that also make i-pads 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. It’s not gay propaganda. It’s how I express life. If we start punishing people for that, the world will lose it’s humanity.
Hate is ugly. Love is beautiful.”
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