Selena Gomez reveals she wants a big family. (Photo : REUTERS)
Former Disney star Selena Gomez was denied Russian Visa and forced to cancel her upcoming gigs in both St. Petersburg and Moscow, E! News reported. Promoters of the show told The Moscow Times that Russian authorities turned down her visa request. The country's new anti-gay law is one of the main reasons for their decision.
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According to E! News, Russian officials tightened travel restrictions for performers who speak out against the new anti-gay legislation. The 21-year-old singer was supposed to perform in St. Petersburg's Ice Palace on Sept. 23 and Moscow's Olimiisky stadium on Sept. 25.
John Becker, a U.S.-based author and gay rights activist, launched a petition on Change.org calling on the "Come and Get It" singer for supporting Russia's LGBT crowd during a performance in the country. "By speaking out, Selena can let LGBT folks in Russia know that we stand with them, and that they are not alone," says the petition that, so far, gained 8,422 signatures.
When it was announced Gomez's visa request was denied, Becker released a statement. "This shows that the Russian government is on edge, it's nervous, and it's aware of the bruising its reputation has taken in the wake of their anti-gay crackdown," said Becker, according to the Huffington Post.
"For the first time since the end of the Yeltsin administration, more Americans have a negative perception of Russia, and it's clear that the country's crackdown on LGBT rights has made a difference here.
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. They're afraid to have someone like Selena Gomez come in and potentially use her platform to advance LGBT rights."
Gomez is not the only pop star that has been singled out by the Russian government for expressing her solidarity with the country's LGBT community. During their 2012 concerts, both Madonna and Lady Gaga gave very public shout-outs in favor of gay rights. E! News published Russian authorities threatened both artists with potential prosecution for "allegedly failing to obtain the appropriate visas to enter and perform in Russia."