Elton John Condemns Russian Homophobia in St. Petersburg Concert

"It’s not gay propaganda," the singer says of his music. "It’s how I express life"

Elton John performing in St. Petersburg, Russia on November 10th, 2014. The singer condemned the removal of a Steve Jobs memorial after Apple's CEO Tim Cook came out as gay. Credit: Shamukov Ruslan/Landov

Elton John recently spoke out against homophobia in Russia at his concert in St. Petersburg, expressing concern that a memorial to Apple founder Steve Jobs had been taken down after the company's current CEO, Tim Cook, came out as gay. The singer said that if gays are punished for expressing themselves, the world's humanity would be in danger.

"I'm not big on technology, but I love my iPad," the singer told the crowd, according to a Facebook post. "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 labeled 'homosexual propaganda' and taken down.

"Can this be true?" he asked the audience. "Steve's memory is rewritten 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," John concluded. "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 its humanity."

Late last year, John spoke out during a concert in Moscow, condemning an anti-gay law. "In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating," the singer said at the time.

This past January, John wrote a missive on his website that addressed the country's president, Vladimir Putin, saying that the people he had met in Moscow were "decent, kind, patriotic men and women who had no thought of forcing their sexuality on anyone." Moreover, he wrote, "I would welcome the opportunity to introduce President Putin to some Russians who deserve to be heard, and who deserve to be treated in their own country with the same respect and warm welcome that I received on my last visit."

In June, the singer said he believed Jesus would support same-sex marriage. "If Jesus Christ was alive today, I cannot see him, as the Christian person that he was and the great person that he was, saying this could not happen," he told a Sky News interviewer. "He was all about love and compassion and forgiveness and trying to bring people together and that's what the church should be about."