Selena Gomez was due to embark on a tour of the Russian Federation to perform two concerts in St. Petersburg and Moscow, as well as a show in Minsk, Belarus and Ukraine's Kiev. However, the young star has erased all four shows from her schedule, leaving some to speculate that Russia's strict anti-homosexual laws and Gomez's pro-gay rights stance could have caused her visa request to be denied.
The Young Star Is Apparently Unmoveable In Her Gay Rights Stance.
Russia has recently introduced a harsh new gay law that bans "propaganda on nontraditional sexual relationships" and punishes even talking about homosexuality around people under 18 years of age. Gomez's tour organisers believe that said laws prevented Selena, an outspoken supporter of gay rights, from obtaining a visa to perform in the country.
A representative for Gomez has told E! News that there will be no performance in Russia despite a report in RIA Novosti airing optimism that Selena's visa issues had been settled. The report said that the "Problem is not us, the problem is - in the bureaucratic moments."
The Singer Was Denied A Russian Visa.
Gomez's now-scrapped plan to visit her Russian fans prompted one gay rights activist, John Becker, to launch a petition on Change.org calling for Selena to "stand up for Russia's LGBT community" whilst in the country, garnering over 13,500 signatures.
In his blog, Becker speculates that "This cancellation of Selena Gomez's visa shows that the Russian government is sensitive and on the defense[...]They're afraid to have someone like Selena Gomez come in and potentially use her platform to advance LGBT rights."
Selena Joins A Host Of Other Stars Who've Faced Difficulty In Russia Due To Their Beliefs About Sexuality.
Selena is not the first Western star to face difficulty in Russia due to her beliefs about sexuality. In early August, Russian officials asserted that US pop stars Lady Gaga and Madonna had violated their visas by breaching the country's "gay propaganda" law. During a December concert last year, Gaga shouted out to her fans "Tonight, this is my house Russia. You can be gay in my house" whilst Madonna let her fans know "Gay people here and all around the world have the same rights" at a show a few months earlier.
The same law that has landed various stars in hot water will be temporarily suspended for athletes at next winter's Olympic Games in Sochi - an event that many are now calling to boycott after Russia's prejudice and active stance against gay people.
Elton John Will Bravely Play In Russia To Support His LGBT Fans.
Elton John, an openly gay artiste who is due to perform in Russia in December, recognised that Russia's laws were a threat to his personal safety but said "I've got to go. And I've got to think about what I'm going to say very carefully. [If you] ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you're really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the anti-gay laws in an isolated situation. As a gay man, I can't leave those people on their own," via an interview with The Huffington Post.