BY ROB SALERNO – With Madonna scheduled to perform in St Petersburg, Russia, this August, some queer activists were calling on Madge to cancel the show in protest of the city’s recently passed law banning the public display or discussion of homosexuality, under threat of fines ranging from $170 to $16,700.
But the queen of pop has so far refused (and with tickets ranging from $100 to $575, she’s got a pretty compelling financial motive), instead vowing to use the concert to protest the law and agitate for gay rights in Russia.
"I will come to St. Petersburg to speak up for the gay community, to
support the gay community and to give strength and inspiration to anyone
who is or feels oppressed,” Madonna wrote on her Facebook page. “I don’t run away from adversity. I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity."
Now St Petersburg lawmakers are vowing to charge Madonna under the law if she speaks up for gay rights.
"I’m ready to personally suffer a couple of hours of her concert,” city assemblyman Vitaly Milanov says.
Apparently, Madonna’s status as the reigning queen of pop does not confer diplomatic immunity.
At the moment, Russia’s LGBT activists appear to be divided, with some planning to picket Madonna’s show and others hopeful that she’ll help foster dialogue about gay rights in the mainstream.