Much has been about how Russia has moved to not only suppress but eradicate queer and trans folks from its community. There are laws that sanction queerness in all of its forms, including supposed "propaganda." Many celebrities have spoken out against these infringements on human rights, some kissing while in the country, and others verbally speaking out. Eight years ago, Madonna was one such performer.
"I made this speech at a concert in St. Petersburg eight years ago," she wrote in an Instagram post Sunday. "I was fined 1 million dollars by the government for supporting the gay community. I never paid."
The speech came at a break during her MDNA tour in 2012 at a sold-out concert. As people in the stadium held up posters and Pride flags, the star gave a speech as local politicians considered their "gay propaganda bill." The bill passed, essentially making it illegal to discuss queerness publicly as it could "convert" children. Read a portion of Madonna's speech below.
"We want to fight for the right to be free. To be who we are. Yes?
It's a very strange time in the world. I'm traveling around the world and I feel it in the air. I feel that people are becoming more and more afraid of people who are different. People are becoming more and more intolerant. It's a very scary time but we can make a difference. We can change this. We have the power and we don't have to do it with violence, we just have to do it with love.
I like your t-shirt. let me read it out loud: At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love. and who said that? Martin Luther King Jr. said that and he fought for the rights of Africans and African-American people. He fought for their right to be equal, to be treated with tolerance, love, and human dignity. Ge fought and he died for this principle. Now I'm here to say that the gay community and gay people here and all around the world have the same rights to be treated with dignity, with respect, with tolerance, with compassion, with love. are you with me? If you're with me I want to see your pink armband. If you're with me raise your arm and show your love and appreciation for the gay community
And this is for people using Hesus and quoting God as their defense mechanism. Jesus preached this, Mohammed preached this, Buddha preached this, Moses preached this, it's in every holy book: love thy neighbor as thy self. Ok? So you can not use religion to treat other people badly. You can not use god's name to treat other people badly, we all deserve love."