Cher has taken a stand against the anti-gay law in Russia. The U.S. music superstar revealed that she was invited to perform at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, but she refused out of solidarity with the LGBT (lesbians, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community.
In an interview with the Maclean's magazine in Canada, the 67-year-old multi-award-winning artist said that she had received a call from a bigwig friend in Russia to ask her if she would like to perform the opening number in the Olympics.
But remembering Russia's recently passed anti-gay propaganda law, the star declined the invitation.
"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 the government does," Cher told the magazine.
She also recounted how badly she and ex-husband Sonny Bono were treated in the past because they were different.
"People hated Sonny and I in the early days because we looked and acted so different. Sonny was always getting into fights - people would call him 'fag' and he'd get his nose broken - only because we were dressing different. And these were our street clothes! You can't forget that."
Cher is a parent to a transgender son, Chaz Bono, who was born Chastity Bono. She described how scared she was when she first learned that her daughter planned to undergo sex reassignment surgery.
"When Chaz first told me she was going to do it - pronoun problem, when he first told me - and the process started, I was so frightened. One time I called Chaz and he had forgot to change his voicemail and it was his old voice. It shook me a bit," Cher said.
"These are small changes that as a mother you never forget. It is the last taboo. It used to be against the law. Thank God we've come so far."
Cher's new album "Closer to the Truth" is due for release on September 24.
On June 30, 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putir signed a bill into law that limits the rights of the LGBT community. Being gay isn't illegal per se in the country, but the "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors" is. Anyone wearing a rainbow-coloured shirt or holding a rainbow flag may be suspected of distributing LGBT information to minors.
The new law was met with overwhelming negative reaction from around the world, with celebrities also taking a stand against it. Recently, "Prison Break" star Wentworth Miller has also declined an invitation to Russia, citing the country's anti-gay law.
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