Madonna: I’ll Sing - & Protest St. Petersburg’s ’Homosexual Propaganda’ Law

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Thursday March 22, 2012

After being urged to cancel a scheduled concert in St. Petersburg, Russia, because of the city's recently passed "gay propaganda" law, Madonna announced that she would use the show as an opportunity to speak out against the anti-gay legislation.

"I will come to St. Petersburg to speak up for the gay community and to give strength and inspiration to anyone who is or feels oppressed," the singer told Bloomberg Businessweek in an email. "I don't run away from adversity. I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity."

Just a few days ago journalist Masha Gessen wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times asking the queen of pop to cut her Aug. 9 performance. Gessen also urged that tourists cancel any vacation plans to St. Petersburg and told major companies to pull out of any deals they have with the city.

Earlier this month, St. Petersburg's legislative assembly passed the "homosexual propaganda law," which will fine individuals up to $16,000 for "promotion of homosexuality" and "pedophilia among minors." The law defines "homosexual propaganda" as "the targeted and uncontrolled dissemination of generally accessible information capable of harming the health and moral and spiritual development of minors," that could create "a distorted impression" of "marital relations."

Madonna's announcement coincides with the release of her new homoerotic music video for "Girls Gone Wild." The track is the second single from her twelfth studio album, "MDNA," which comes out on March 23.

The pop star performed during the halftime show at this year's Super Bowl, which was dubbed by some as the "gayest sporting event in recent years." Several Christian groups were up in arms about the Material Girl headlining the event and some groups even created a "pro-family alternative" for the show -- a video of Indianapolis Colts' head coach Tony Dungy and his wife asking Christians to adopt orphans.

Pop sensation Lady Gaga has been a strong force for the LGBT community and has spoken out against anti-gay laws and bullying. Most recently, she launched the "Born This Way Foundation" and spoke at Harvard University with Oprah Winfrey. The organization's mission is to encourage individuality and self-expression among young people, especially LGBT youth. In June of last year, Gaga gave a speech during Europride (a pan-European international LGBT pride event) and criticized a number of European countries for their anti-gay views.

While Madonna may not have been as vocal or "out-there" supporter of gay rights as Gaga, she has also done several concerts -- most notably the 1987 Madison Square gig in New York City for the American Foundation for AIDS Research -- for gay and AIDS causes. The Material Girl has an out-gay brother, Christopher, and has spoken out for gay rights in forums such as "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."