It seems celebrities are standing united against Russia's anti-gay laws in recent weeks with Wentworth Miller rejecting an invitation to the St. Petersburg International Film Festival on August 21 and now Cher has snubbed the chance to open Russia’s Winter Olympics in protest again over its anti-gay laws.
The 67-year-old, whose son Chaz underwent gender transition surgery in 2010, is the latest celebrity to react against the laws brought in by Vladimir Putin's government in June. The singer refused the offer in retaliation of legislation introduced earlier this year which makes it illegal to teach under 18s about homosexuality.
She explained: "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 their government does."
Cher, who this year headlined at a Gay Pride concert in New York, is known world-wide as a "gay-icon" and is very supportive of her son Chaz.
The singer, who recently released her 25th studio album, rose to fame as one half of the husband and wife duo Sonny and Cher, and said she feels able to relate to marginalized groups because of the initially frosty reception they received. She explained to a Canadian publication how people hated Sonny Bono in the early days because they looked and acted so different.
"Sonny was always getting into fights-people would call him a ‘f-g’ and he’d get his nose broken - all because we were dressing differently."
"It is the last taboo. It used to be against the law. Thank God we’ve come so far."
Gay rights activists have called for Russia to be removed as hosts of the Winter Olympics next year over the controversial laws which prohibit teaching under 18s about homosexuality.
Source: Laura Cox, Cher snubs chance to open Russia’s Winter Olympics in protest over its anti-gay laws. Daily Mail. 16/09/2013.