Madonna Speaks Up for Gay Rights and Pussy Riot in Russia

Speculation has been high regarding Madonna’s tour dates in Moscow and St. Petersburg this week. She was expected to speak up for gay rights as well as the release of the punk protest band Pussy Riot, three members of which are currently on trial for hooliganism. She delivered on both counts, riling up support for the causes in a country that has seen diminishing civil rights over the course of the year.

On Tuesday, Madonna announced to adoring fans that she has prayed for the release of the three jailed members of Pussy Riot. Her voice joins those of many other celebrities around the world who have called for their release. They stand on trial for performing an anti-Putin prayer in a Moscow cathedral in February. She wore a balaclava and sported the band’s name on her back, Rolling Stone reports.

She told onlookers, “To these three girls who have been in jail now for five months, who are going through a trial right now: I pray for your freedom. I know we all pray for your freedom and let’s hope that one day we really will live in a world filled with peace and freedom and tolerance.”

Madonna didn’t stop her tour on that note, despite the fact that threats of violence were reported for Thursday night’s St. Petersburg concert. Authorities were warned that physical violence had been threatened against concertgoers but the event went on as planned.

During Thursday’s show, Madonna told the crowd, “We want to fight for the right to be free” and called authorities in St. Petersburg to rescind legislation that makes “gay propaganda” illegal. That means no one can hold rallies or speak out for gay rights or inclusion. Pink wrist bands were distributed at the door for concertgoers to wear to show solidarity for gay rights, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The St. Petersburg legislation has made it more difficult for the LGBT community to demand fair practices and awareness in a culture that often frowns on sexualities and gender identities that do not fit the traditional family mold. The Chicago Tribune points out that homosexuality is no longer met with jail sentences in Russia, but the anti-gay legislation does work to criminalize LGBT identities as “damaging” to children and family values.

Madonna may have irritated Elton John, (he called her a “fairground stripper” recently) but she has used her platform in Russia to make serious commentary on Putin’s government, which has worked to increase internet censorship, to shut down public protests, limit LGBT rights, and curb civil rights since he came back to power in March.

Earlier this summer, Madonna also riled up members of the French National Front Party after she showed an image of their leader Marine Le Pen juxtaposed against Nazi imagery. The party plans to sue the singer for her display.

Related Stories:

Madonna Sued by France’s National Front Party

Pussy Riot Protesters Plead Not Guilty

Pussy Riot Member Speaks Out

 

Photo Credit: Truu (talk)

56 comments

Nicole Pauline Sedkowski
Nicole Sedkowski4 years ago

GO Madonna!

Elizabeth K.
Elizabeth K.4 years ago

Seemingly, the entire western world is taking the side of a woman, a present member of Pussy, who did this, a couple of years ago, when she was a member of Voina, a performance artist group:

http://redhotrussia.com/art-group-voina-controversial-act/

John B.
John B.4 years ago

Thanks Sarah for the article and the video clip. I'm quite surprised the police didn't detain some concert goers and the Russian Orthodox Church didn't try to interfere by physically picketing. That being said I'm glad they didn't.

Abbe A.
Azaima A.4 years ago

yes

Morgan McDowell
Morgan McDowell4 years ago

Madonna to me is to the point where she can't be taken seriously, and to make matters worse, if she gets arrested she will be able to bail herself out easily.

If someone goes over to Russia who isn't famous, protests the treatment of homosexuals, gets arrested and put in prison for it, they won't be able to bail themselves out.

To me Madonna is sending a mixed message that its ok to go into another person's country to protest their politics! She needs to focus on gay right issues here in America, not over in some other country!

Terry Vanderbush
Terry V.4 years ago

thanks

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola4 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth K.
Elizabeth K.4 years ago

Madeleine, you said that you are opposed to discrimination of any type. That is a truly shocking statement! I discriminate when choosing friends, what food to eat, what to wear, who to keep company with, where to seek employment, etc. etc. Why would you not do the same? Or do you mean that it is good for some people (eg, liberals) to discriminate, but others should not be permitted to make judgments as to what is suitable, or not, in this world? Please explain

madeleine watt
Madeleine watt4 years ago

I have not had a use for Madonna for eons. That said, any rational person is against discrimination of any type. I am glad there are "celebraties" bringing attention to this area. Just wish it were high profile people other than Madonna getting the press. Sorry.

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton4 years ago

Good for her.