Toronto Diary
5 min

Cher turns down invitation to perform at Sochi Olympics

Cher is renowned for being one of the first, biggest and best gay icons ever and has recently become even more invested in the gay community. Seriously, her appearance alongside Chad Michaels? It’s like she dropped a gaytomic bomb.

In a recent interview with Maclean’s magazine, Cher opened up about her relationship with her son, Chaz Bono, and how she turned down an invitation to perform at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Q: What do you think about what’s going on in Russia right now?

A: I can’t name names but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there, and asked me if I’d like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show. I immediately said no. I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there. He said the Russian people don’t feel the way the government does.

Q: You are one of the only celebrity parents to publicly talk about having a transgender son.

A: When Chaz first told me she was going to do it—pronoun problem, when he first told me—and the process started, I was so frightened. One time I called Chaz and he had forgot to change his voicemail and it was his old voice. It shook me a bit. These are small changes that as a mother you never forget. It is the last taboo. It used to be against the law. Thank God we’ve come so far.

There was a period a few years back, when artists like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry were first coming out, when they were proclaiming themselves gay icons without, you know, actually doing anything to earn the title. Needless to say, they can take a lesson from Cher.

We don’t just hand out the “gay icon” status like we’re doling out after-dinner mints. Being a gay icon, being someone with power and a voice, requires that you actually do something to help others. There’s a difference between working for a community and making a community work for you.

Cher, regardless of what you think of her, is one of the first gay icons, and she earned that shit through years of work as an ally. So random Auto-Tuned pop starlets, take note: you want to be a gay icon? Good for you. But you don’t get a medal just for showing up. Fucking do something.