Russian authorities denied Selena Gomez a visa to perform in the country, citing the nation’s new anti-gay laws as their reason. This decision demonstrates the government’s increasingly strict emphasis on the new law, which prohibits individuals from “promoting nontraditional sexual relationships to minors.”
Gomez’s denial is unusual, however, as the singer is not homosexual. She’s also not an overly-vocal supporter of gay rights, although she did appear at the Gay Pride Parade in Los Angeles this year.
It’s likely that Russian officials are skeptical of female pop artists like Gomez as a result of Madonna and Lady Gaga’s respective performances in the country last year. Both performers were outspoken against Russia’s anti-gay laws from the stage. It appears as if the government has decided to tighten its restrictions on foreign performers that they believe may be susceptible to promoting homosexuality to fans.
Elton John, on the other hand, is scheduled to perform in Moscow in December. Of course, he also performed there in 1979 when it was still the Soviet Union, so it appears as if his status as a legendary performer outweighs his sexual preferences. Cher, one of the LGBT movements most iconic individuals, has also been approached to perform at the forthcoming Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, the Atlantic Wire reports.
Perhaps Elton John and Cher are simply regarded as older acts, and therefore less susceptible of “promoting nontraditional sexual relationships to minors.” Gomez, on the other hand, has a much younger fan base. Still, the governments denial of her visa despite any indication that she would be outspoken against the anti-gay laws demonstrates that Russia is taking the legislation seriously.
Gomez was forced to cancel two of her tour dates as a result of the denied visa. It’s still unclear whether or not Elton John will be granted a visa, although the singer himself has declared that he will still perform if the opportunity is not taken away from him.