Citing Tchaikovsky, Elton John Denounces Russian Homophobia

Andrew Kelly / ReutersSir Elton John performs at the Elton John AIDS Foundation's 13th annual An Enduring Vision Benefit in New York.

British singer Sir Elton John has criticized Russia's stance on gay rights at a concert in St. Petersburg, asking the crowd whether Pyotr Tchaikovsky's music was "sexually perverting" just because the composer was reportedly gay.

The openly gay singer, who performed in St. Petersburg on Sunday, took particular issue with the removal of a statue of Apple founder Steve Jobs in the city after his successor Tim Cook came out as gay last month.

"Can this be true? Steve's memory is re-written because his successor at Apple, Tim Cook, is gay?! Does that also make iPads 'gay propaganda'?" he told the crowd, according to a statement on his Facebook page.

In 2012, the St. Petersburg legislature banned the promotion of so-called 'gay propaganda' to minors, paving the way for the adoption a nationwide ban a year later.

John also spoke about the acclaimed Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, who was reportedly gay, asking: "Is Tchaikovsky's beautiful music 'sexually perverting?"

"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," John told the crowd.

John, 67, is currently on a worldwide tour that sees him next perform on Wednesday in the Danish capital Copenhagen.

See also:

Russian Memorial to Apple Founder Dismantled After CEO Says He's Gay

Lawmaker Wants Russian Travel Ban on Apple's Gay CEO Tim Cook

Was a St. Petersburg Journalist Brutally Killed for Being Gay?

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