Selena Gomez was denied a visa for Russia because she’s too LBGT-friendly

Let’s play a word association game. If I say the words “Selena Gomez” and “homosexual propaganda” to you, what’s the first thing that you think of? Please tell me it’s Justin Bieber. Because that was where my mind went too. Anyway, I never realized this before, but it seems that Selena Gomez is something of a LGBT Ally. Earlier this year, she attended the LA Pride Parade with one of her gay friends. It’s interesting to me that young, “family-friendly” entertainers no longer feel the need to pay lip service to any homophobic fans they might have – the fear of alienating the anti-gay bigots in your fanbase is no longer important, it seems. So, Selena is an Ally. And now the Russian government is saying that she can’t perform in their country because of Russia’s new anti-gay and anti-gay-propaganda laws:

If Selena Gomez wants to perform in Russia, she might try pulling an Edward Snowden — because that may be the only way she’s likely to gain entry. Promoters for a pair of concerts the “Come & Get It” crooner had scheduled in the country for later this month have told The Moscow Times that Russian officials have turned down her visa request, forcing her to scrap the gigs.

Organizers cited Russia’s new anti-gay law as one of the reasons for Gomez’s rejection, since Russian authorities have been tightening travel restrictions for performers who speak out in favor of gay rights. The 21-year-old singer-actress was supposed to play St. Petersburg’s Ice Palace on Sept. 23 and Moscow’s Olimiisky stadium on Sept. 25. A rep for Gomez now tells E! News she’s not going to Russia.

The news that Russian officials rebuffed Justin Bieber’s ex is no doubt disappointing to her fans in the former communist nation. But to U.S.-based author and gay rights activist, John Becker, who launched a petition on calling on Gomez to stand up for Russia’s LGBT crowd when she took the stage there, the government’s decision was a sign the administration of President Vladimir Putin is feeling the heat over its anti-gay policies.

“This cancellation of Selena Gomez’s visa shows that the Russian government is sensitive and on the defense, and shows that the pressure from people all around the world and the backlash against these laws is strong,” Becker told E! News in a statement. “They’re afraid to have someone like Selena Gomez come in and potentially use her platform to advance LGBT rights.”

His petition has so far gained 8.422 signatures as of press time.

The visa denial comes after Madonna and Lady Gaga gave very public shout-outs during their 2012 shows expressing solidarity with Russia’s LGBT community. In the wake of an outcry from anti-gay politicians, the government subsequently threatened the Material Girl and Mother Monster with potential prosecution for allegedly failing to obtain the appropriate visas to enter and perform in Russia.

And Madonna was even sued by some conservative Russian activists who accused the Queen of Pop of promoting homosexuality to children at her Aug. 9, 2012 concert in violation of a new law prohibiting gay “propaganda.”

[From E! News]

Madonna is totally a gay propagandist (and bless her heart for that), but is Selena Gomez? Does Selena have any “gay” references in her concerts? I get that the LGBT activists wanted Selena to say something during the concert and maybe the fear that Selena would say something is the reason she didn’t get a visa, but still… it was far from a sure thing that Selena would have even inserted herself into this issue. And now she’s been denied the opportunity to say anything about it on Russian soil. I kind of hope this spurs her to say something in support of Russia’s LGBT community publicly now. Also: how GD crazy is it that a country – a major country like Russia! – is denying ANYONE access to their country because of that person’s simple tolerance and support of gay people?

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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47 Responses to “Selena Gomez was denied a visa for Russia because she’s too LBGT-friendly”

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  1. Seattlemomma says:

    Seriously. The world is a jacked-up place.

  2. Anna says:

    The E! political analysis is totally illogical. If the Russian government was ‘feeling the heat’ of the international scorn and thus put on the defensive, wouldn’t they want to draw as little attention to this as possible. By, for example, NOT creating another international news story featuring an international pop star? Instead they’d let her come in, perform, and if she spoke out then either let it go or issue a fine or something, for yes, actually violating a national law.

    • Nattie says:

      You are right. The activists strategy is stupid anyway. If you want to effect change in this you need to engage the society. And do it in a respectful way that doesnt force locals into a defensive patriotic mood. The young Russians who arent homophobic (like my relatives) are being forced to chose between national pride and sovereignty and human equality.

      • Anna says:

        Exactly. The government wont change an internal law based on foreign pressure as long as 88% of the locals support it, and a huge chunk of them want to declare homosexuality entirely illegal. When someone like Madonna or Gaga speak up while prancing around in their undies, sure, internationally it attracts publicity and applause, but in Russia it’s a complete vindication of the ‘values’ crowd.

      • blue marie says:

        @ Anna.. you both make great points but what is the ‘values’ crowd? moral values? sorry, I’m having a really dense morning and that just went right over my head.

      • Anna says:

        Yup the ‘values’ (and I can only use this with “_” in this context) crowd are the proponents of traditional values, including ‘good’ (Orthodox) Christian morals, ‘normal’ sexual orientation, ousting of all sorts of unhealthy influences like emo culture, gays, ‘offending the feelings of the faithful’, pop culture, sex on TV, etc.

        Clearly if the kids see a smoking wolf in a cartoon, they’ll pick up cigs. Not because a pack costs less than $1 and can be bought anywhere and Russia has the 3rd largest # of smokers per capita.

        I am wondering if women’s rights, esp of reproductive nature, are next to go.

      • blue marie says:

        ah, thank you. It’s entirely possible, I certainly hope not though cause I gotta tell you I’m about tired of folks trying to act like there’s room in my womb for their opinion/beliefs..

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        I was hoping you’d be chiming in on this thread, Anna-always interesting to hear a Russian native’s perspective on this.
        The anti-gay thing just seems so bizarrely regressive to most Americans, I think.

        So you’re saying 88% of Russians support the new “values”-driven culture?

      • T.Fanty says:

        Second OKitt’s appreciation of your perspective. However, I do see how this can gather steam. One of the big responses to globalization is cultural regression, and you see this all over Europe in re-activated racism and hyper-nationalism. The conservative voice is VERY strong in parts of America, and we’re also seeing women’s rights rolled back all across middle American states. I believe how this can happen.

        And Putin’s a very strong-minded political figure, right? I was just reading an article about his resistance to Obama that essentially said he’s very much into trying to rebuild the Soviet empire. Is that accurate?

      • Anna says:

        So many questions here! And they’re all complex so I will do my best to zero-in on the key points.

        88% support the anti-gay law. As for the broader embrace of ‘traditional values’ – it is hard to find a specific statistic bc most surveys are issue-specific, but I would guess it’s close to the above figure. Based on the demographics, I would say at least 70%.

        Russian population is heavily Russian Orthodox Christian, but it’s a very diff situation/influence than, let’s say with the French and their Catholicism (I lived in France btw). There, Catholicism is almost hereditary, so a lot of people might identify with it on the familial/heritage levels, but not embrace it in an active way.

        In Russia, Orthodoxy was suppressed for 75 years, so the fervent embrace of it is part of the backlash to the USSR legacy, plus it also goes really well with Russian geopolitical nationalism. I mean, how many big, internationally-influential countries do you know that are Eastern Orthodox? You can maybe make a case for Greece, but really it’s just Russia. So the national and religious identities are much more closely tied than for Catholics or Muslims.

        And so the Church becomes part of the political system in what is technically a secular and multi-faith society. Interestingly enough, in this paradigm the Muslims (a pretty solid chunk of the population) are not the threat or The Other. It’s the secularists/ atheists/ other, tolerant Christians.

      • Anna says:

        @Fanty –

        Your Q is even bigger, and if you want to get deeper into this, plz feel free to email me via my bl0g linked thru the avatar.

        Russia’s reactionism, more than anything (and in my semi-scholarly opinion) is tied to geopolitics and demographics – the latter of which is heavily tied to geopolitics.

        It goes like this: the 1990s were hell. Economically, demographically, politically. The ‘western powers’ (US/NATO) had Russia any which way they wanted. And why wouldnt they? That’s REALPOLITIC. USSR would have done the same had it won the Cold War – but it didnt. So. People were dropping dead like flies. Russia lost proportionally comparable amount of population since the fall of the USSR till Putin as it did under Stalin’s purges. If not more. Genocide without the bullets.

        The total collapse of the internal political and economic systems was largely due to the push of ‘western’ reforms – literally, US would give Russia cash in exchange for Russia implementing XYZ. Russia being compliant. Russia being open.

        With that openness, came an influx of western culture. Music, movies, ‘values.’

        Russia did implement all the reforms all the policies, by the book – and all the cash went to corrupt politicians that enabled the rise of violent billionaire robber-barons that stripped the nation of its resources.

        In [one of] the largest energy producer in the world people were dying because cities – and hospitals – would get their power supply cut off. Soviet Russia exported grain and agricultural products to the near and far abroad. In democratic Russia people starved.

        Criminality and corruption were on unimaginable levels. No salaries paid for months. Hyperinflation. Etc.

        Internationally and militarily, Russia was a joke. The army fell apart. No influence. No organization. Corruption, again.

        And for the most part bc Russia tried to be like The West. Agree with advice. Agree with the US/NATO which declared former USSR republics as part of their ‘strategic interest’ zones.

        Until Putin came. And now it’s backlash time.

        Against everything Western. Economic policy and foreign policy (NATO is putting a missile shield virtually on the Russian border. What if Russia tried to do this in Canada?). But also cultural influence. Cultural influence which is being blamed for the disastrous demographics. Women not giving birth. Kids drinking and smoking. Men not living till their 60s bc of alcoholism and criminality.

        The problem isnt with ‘the gay’. It’s with the fact that open homosexuality and its rainbow flags came with all the cr@p from the West. It wasnt an organic evolution of the Russian gay rights movement. Like the disastrous privatization reform that put Moscow on the ‘city with most billionaires’ list while 90% of the country had to rely on supplemental subsistence farming, it was imported. And now it’s time to get back to the Russian roots.

        Putin IS very strong-minded. Under his strong-mindedness Russian real GDP went up 300% in 12 years. Two consecutive years of natural (non-immigration) population growth after 2 decades of decline. Russia exerting influence in regional and international politics. Why shouldnt we?

        Why should the interests of the US, a country with 5% of the world population, be the priority in every single part of the world? If the counterargument is because they are better and more moral, I’d love to see the US stop supporting the Saudi regime, that makes Putin’s Russia seem like a big gay pride parade. Or China – for that matter. Their human rights track record is worse than Russia (accd to the UN). But no. It’s Russia that is the geopolitical foe #1.

        To move on from context and onto your specific question: who in the world is an idiot enough to think that Putin wants to rebuild the Soviet empire? Even the communists in Russia arent that delusional. 1-it’s not possible under any remotely realistic scenario. 2-it’s not desirable for Russia bc the Soviet empire had so many internal problems that if I dried to briefly summarize them, CB would kick me out.

        Russia wants to feel safe in its own borders, and not have foreign guns pointed at it, or foreign economists dictate what we should do with our own resources.

        Lest US-imposed reforms sound like Russian propaganda, check out this and

      • Sixer says:

        Anna: thank you for taking the time to type all this.

      • Anna says:

        Sixer, thank you. You and Fanty opened a Pandora’s box. I generally try to keep to myself, until/unless prompted. And then…

      • Sixer says:

        I just think, however much notice one takes of current international affairs, however many news sources one uses to get a decent perspective, nothing beats seeing an issue through someone else’s eyes. My understanding is better now, thanks to you. :)

    • SW says:

      At this point they are still allowing the Olympics to be in Russia, right? What the heck is gonna happen when people, celebrities and the athletes who are gay or “gay_ friendly” try to attend the games? Ugg!

  3. Sixer says:

    I thought I had my position on the best way to support LGBT people in Russia all sorted. However, on the last thread we discussed this (Wentworth Miller, I think) someone came along – whose name I forget, sorry – and made me question my assumptions. I’m still questioning.

    So I’ll just say, I would like to support LGBT people in Russia, and the rights of all LGBT people, as best I can.

    And also that I have a rumbling undercurrent of a question about the timing of this news – coming, as it does, in the wake of diplomatic victories for Russia over Syria in the wake of incompetent handling by the Obama administration.

    (American friends: please note – I’m not criticising the US position on Syria, or anyone’s position on Syria, just the US handling of recent diplomacy. And I think British handling has been incompetent, too).

  4. blue marie says:

    that’s really f-ked up and sucks for her fans. what’s going on over there is not right or fair. (although in life what’s ever really fair?)

    strictly superficial.. I like her hair with the crown braids, and I have no clue how to do it. the front is french braid right?

  5. Anelise says:

    Communism lvl: still over 1000x.

  6. Mia 4S says:

    I really hope there is more to the story. I mean, it’s always nice that a young performer has a social conscience but I cannot think of one example that would place her above or beyond many others. And yes, I thought Justin Beiber.

    My suspicion tends to be that these Russian laws are an attempt to distract from the very real and horrendous social and economic problems in Russia. Governments using minority scapegoats is not new.

  7. Merritt says:

    This is why I’m concerned about the athletes and coaches for the Olympics. But the IOC keeps burying its head in the sand. They know they made a mistake in choosing Russia and don’t want to admit it.

  8. lauren says:

    I´d rather see her taking a stand and not wanting to perform in Russia in the first place than getting her visa denied!

    What Russia and a lot of other countries are doing is just wrong and disgusting. Everyone who is in the public eye should be using his / her popularity to speak out against that.

  9. phillkatt says:

    Russia has alot of problems. They have the biggest population of skinheads in Europe, which doesn’t make sense to me, because during World War II Hitler nearly destroyed that country. Most of their targets are people of color, but they will even attack white Russians that don’t look “Slavic” enough, like Chechans, who tend to be dark complexioned. And if you are gay or perceived to be gay –well forget about it. It’s sad and terrifying.

  10. Melody says:

    They know the “L” doesn’t stand for Latina, right?

  11. Algernon says:

    I know this is petty because so many athletes work so hard to get to the Olympics, and the vast majority of Russians are really nice people who just want to get on with their lives and go about their business without hurting anyone else, but.

    I hope the Olympics are a f-cking nightmare for Russia.

    • Deftie says:

      Why? Just why? Olympics should serve for the whole world, if it will be a nightmare for Russia, it will be the nightmare for the rest of the world too. Personally, I hope Olympics will be great and NOBODY will try to politicize it. THAT would be totally negacy of Olympics legacy.

  12. Jackie Jormp Jomp (formerly Zelda) says:

    I am calling bullshit PR spin. I’ve been in and out of Russia many times, and this doesnt sit right.
    The last time I was in Moscow, Elton John played a weeks worth of shows.

    I think there is some other reason for the cancellation/rejection, and promoters and publicists decided to use the opportunity to make Gomez seem like some human rights activist.

  13. Emily C. says:

    Hopefully this will draw more attention to the problem in Russia. So many people are confused (or pretend to be), and think it’s because Russia doesn’t allow gay marriage or something. No. It’s because they have made homosexuality a crime. And they have gone so extreme that they have made speaking out against making homosexuality a crime, also a crime. I would hope that everyone could see how despicable this is.

  14. rrabbit says:

    Selena was in a long term lesbian relationship with Justin Bieber. And yes, that thought occurred to me before I read the first paragraph.