Elton John says that he's prepared to face the dire circumstances of gays in Russia when he visits the country later this year. Elton, who in 1979 was among the first artists to perform in the U.S.S.R, won't cower under the government's open condemnation of gays, lesbians, and transgenders living in Russia. Elton told The Guardian, "I'm supposed to be going to Moscow in December. I've got to go. And I've got to think about what I'm going to say very carefully. There's two avenues of thought: do you stop everyone going, 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 without going over there and supporting them. I don't know what's going to happen, but I've got to go."
Elton recalled staying true to himself during his first solo tour of Russia, accompanied only by bandmate, percussionist, Ray Cooper: "Listen, I went to Russia in 1979 and I knew we were being watched all the time: I had an interpreter that they'd clearly set up. Actually, I ended up having sex with him on the roof of my hotel."
Throughout the years Elton has used his fame and power to raise money for numerous charities -- most notably the Elton John Aids Foundation which he founded in 1992. He says that the most effective way to get people involved and act as an agent for change is to lead by example: "I'm a musician and all I can do really is to break down barriers or make people feel good at that particular time (and) bring people together that normally wouldn't go to a concert together. I really can't change the world that much politically, although I can get involved in things like Live 8 and get involved in the rainforest thing -- which is all we can do as performers. We can't physically get hold of them and say 'You must do this, you must do that!' The only thing we can do is make people aware by saying and supporting these causes."
Elton John will release his latest album, The Diving Board, on September 24th.
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