Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Elton on Putin, Pope Francis, Germaine Greer & His Dad

Sir Elton John has told the BBC's Emily Maitlis that comments made by writer Germaine Greer about transgender women ''not being women'' have shown her to be ''an attention seeker''.

Speaking last month to BBC Newsnight, Ms Greer did say she would be prepared to use female pronouns when referring to someone, if that was their preference, "as a courtesy".

''We have to have sympathy for them [transgender people] - and we have to stop the barbaric treatment, especially in prisons, of people like that,'' Sir Elton said.


Out British singer Elton John told the BBC that he's preparing to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to discuss gay rights.

“As soon as I can get a date in my diary that coincides with him, then I will be going …. to Moscow and I will meet him,” John said during an appearance on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.

John suggested meeting Putin during a September interview with the BBC from Ukraine. His comments led to a two men pranking the singer into believing that Putin had reached out to him to discuss LGBT rights.

John said that he's now received a genuine call from Putin.

“He was very affable. He was very apologetic. He was very sincere,” John said.

“Whether or not I make any progress, I don't know,” he added. “I'm not going to go straight in there and go, 'Come on, you've got to do this. You've got to do that.' This is the starting of a dialogue and you don't get anywhere without a dialogue.”

In September, John called Putin's stance on gay rights “isolating and prejudiced.”

- On top mag

Sir Elton John praised Pope Francis for trying to make the Catholic Church “more humble and more human” but urged the Vatican to reinstate gay priest Krzysztof Charamsa, who had held a post for more than a decade before being sacked for revealing his homosexuality.

During an inspiring speech and Q+A session, Sir Elton revealed further details of his plans for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the importance of love in bringing about an end to LGBTQ+ discrimination internationally and the recent move by the Elton John Aids Foundation to give $5m to organisations to combat AIDS in Africa.

Declaring himself a “big fan” of Pope Francis for making the Catholic Church “more humble and more human,” he criticised the previous Pope, Benedict XVI, for being more concerned with his extravagant dress sense than ending discrimination. He continued by asking Francis to “Let your love wash over your priests and all people”, later condemning the Vatican itself as “a hive of backstabbing and intrigue”.

Sir Elton also revealed his plans for his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying that a dialogue needs to be opened before any progress can be made, intending to bring with him some of the Russian activists who had been fighting for LGTBQ rights. Upon being asked what would constitute a success, he acknowledged that it was unlikely that anything would change as a result of the talks and that he is “not stupid” in what he expects of Putin’s reaction. He also stressed the importance of music and sport in bringing people together regardless of their identities, saying that “if the Russian people can cheer me on a stage, then they can cheer their own gay sons and daughters”.

"I am not going to say to Vladimir Putin 'Hey Vladimir you have got to fucking change this'.

"Or I will get a quick Polonium injection and I will be fucked," the Mirror reported.

Sir Elton said he would talk to Putin about being gay, and how he "tried hard" to be heterosexual like "almost every gay man of my generation".

The Mirror quotes him as saying: "If being a gay man is a choice there would be hardly any gay people.... All I can say to Putin is put my opinion across. Sport and music are great levellers. Sport breaks down so many barriers.

"I will probably talk to him about music and sport and gradually get to the nitty gritty but I am not going to say you have to do this and have to do that, I don’t even know the man so you start by being nice.

"I will say 'Your greatest classical composer Tchaikovsky was a gay man'."

Sir Elton told the crowd he "loved" Russia after becoming the first western artist to tour the Soviet Union.

He added: “It was one of the most profound experiences of my life. I was taken to this place where we thought the evil communists were plotting to take over the world but all I saw was love.

"The Russians loved each other and they loved me. When I came out I did not see a decline in their love towards me.”

Russia has faced international criticism for its laws on homosexuality, including a 2013 bill prosecuting people for providing information about homosexuality to people under 18.

Sir Elton has previously said he wants to talk to Putin about his “ridiculous” attitude to the issue. Then, in September, he fell victim to a hoax call from television show hosts Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov, who pretended to be Putin.

The president then called the pop star last week and was "very apologetic", Sir Elton said.

The evening finished with Union President Charlie Vaughan presenting Sir Elton with an Honorary Membership of the Union and he left to a standing ovation from the audience in the chamber.

- Oxford Student/ Huffington Post

Elton John has spoken candidly about his relationship with his late father Stanley Dwight.

Talking to students at the Oxford Union, the British icon was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying that his father never told him that he loved him, and that the lack of love led Elton to drink and drugs.

"He didn't hold me, and he didn't come to see me perform. He was taught that love had limits. You don't show it in public. You don't even show it in private," Elton revealed. "And if your son isn't quite like you, and he's pretty f**king different from you in fact, then your love becomes cut off and inexpressible."

As a result, the musician added that he never stops telling his sons that he loves them. He has two sons with husband David Furnish, born to a surrogate mother.

"My son Zachary the other day said, 'I love you all the way up to God'. He trots it out on a regular basis in different guises, and so does Elijah," Elton said. "And it means to me that we're doing a good job raising our children, that they feel loved, that they feel nurtured."

Elton said his father also never supported his career, leading him to a never-ending quest. "I've spent the rest of my life trying to prove to my father that I was a success. He's been dead [for] years and I'm still trying to prove the point. It stays with you."

The rejection was made worse after Dwight remarried and had four children that "he was so loving with in a way that he never was with me". This led Elton to take cocaine and drink "enough alcohol to burn New Orleans".

Elton became sober in his early 40s after he was hospitalised, and he told the Oxford students that whatever they do with their lives, the only thing that will matter at their funeral is how loving a person they've been.

- Digital Spy

“As a gay man growing up in the 1950s and 60s in England, internalised stigma was something all gay people carried,” he told The Sunday Times Magazine. “When you are taught from the time you are too young to understand that homosexuality is something dirty, broken, an aberration, even ridiculous, it seeps into your soul. It’s harder to protect or care about yourself, and it makes people who would otherwise be close to you move away.”

Elton finally revealed his sexuality in 1988 after splitting from wife Renate Blauel and in 1993 he began a relationship with David Furnish. The couple entered into a civil partnership in 2005 and on their ninth anniversary in December 2014 after gay marriage became legal in England, they married in front of friends and their two sons. Throughout their relationship, the couple have worked hard to raise funds for HIV/Aids prevention programmes with Elton setting up the Elton John Aids Foundation in 1992. But despite the millions of pounds they have raised, Elton knows that in many countries, gay men still struggle with the internal stigma that he dealt with decades before.

“This is what’s happening in dozens of countries in Africa where homosexuality is criminalised, with the result that LGBT communities are too terrified of being ostracised, or worse, beaten up, imprisoned or killed, to get HIV testing and treatment.”

- Noise 11

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