Celebrities putting the screws to the Russian government is becoming a popular tool in the push-back against the country’s “homosexual propaganda” law. Actress/Singer/Disney invention Selena Gomez might have added her name to the list of A-list agitators.
Gomez had two performances scheduled in Russia next week, and petitioners want her to use the stage to speak up. Change.org is hosting a “Selena Gomez: Speak Out For Equality in Moscow and St. Petersburg” petition, which is well on track to reach 7,500 signatures before the shows. But it looks like the Russian government beat Gomez to the punch: Gomez got her visa pulled just days before her first show on September 23.
John Becker, Managing Editor of the Bilerico Project and fan of Gomez’s music, started the petition when he noticed Gomez had upcoming tour dates in Russia.
“As an LGBT rights activist, it didn’t sit right with me that a Western artist like Selena Gomez would go in there and not speak out against the law,” Becker tells Runnin’ Scared. “It would be a shame if she went in there and miss an opportunity to stand up for justice. And the petition was a way to encourage her to do that.”
But before Gomez could take the stage, the Russian government denied her visa, citing tightened restrictions on foreign artists. According to reports, it is likely that the Russian government does not want a repeat of Lady Gaga’s performance last year. “Tonight, this is my house Russia. You can be gay in my house,” Gaga told the crowd at her concert last December.
Now that she won’t be performing, Becker hopes that the experience will inspire Gomez to take a more outspoken stance on the rights of LGBTQ in Russia now that the government is on high alert. “It does seem to show that the Russian government is really on edge,” notes Becker.
And not without reason. A new Gallup Poll shows that for the first time since the end of Boris Yeltsin’s administration, more Americans have a negative view of Russia than a positive one. The poll points to three issues influencing Americans’ opinions: Syria, Snowden, and LGBTQ rights.
At press time, the petition sits at 7,100 signatures.
Mandy Teefey, Manager, Selena Gomez
Brian Teefey, Manager, Selena Gomez
Jill Fritzo, Publicist, Selena Gomez
Ashlea Mackin, Publicist, Selena Gomez
Sean Grumman, Agent, Selena Gomez
Paul Fitzgerald, Agent, Selena Gomez
Cristian Carino, Agent, Selena Gomez
Donny Novakovic, Hollywood Records
Lillian Matulic, Hollywood Records
I am writing today to ask Selena Gomez to stand on stage and speak out for Russia’s LGBT community during her upcoming trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Russia is a country that’s currently bullying and persecuting its LGBT citizens. Under Russia’s new “gay propaganda” ban, it is now a crime to publicly acknowledge the LGBT community, say that gay relationships are equal to non-gay ones, organize an LGBT pride parade, or even simply hold a rainbow flag. This and other anti-gay laws are legitimizing an alarming surge in hate-motivated beatings, torture, and murders of LGBT people across that country.
Ms. Gomez has stated that she’s been a victim of bullying. Put those hateful bullies in charge of a country, and you start to get an idea of what LGBT people in Russia are going through.
As an international pop star, and as someone who’s supported the LGBT community in the past, Selena Gomez has a unique platform and a special obligation to join other celebrities like Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Cher in speaking out against the Russian government’s bullying of LGBT people. By speaking out, Selena can let LGBT folks in Russia know that we stand with them, and that they are not alone.
I urge her to please condemn Russia’s anti-LGBT laws during her trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg.