Elton John Tuesday blasted Russia and eastern Europe governments for “discrimination against gays” saying such bigotry was thwarting the fight against AIDS, as scientists announced disappointing results in the quest for a cure.
In a sudden tirade at the second day of a major conference, John, a seasoned AIDS campaigner, gave voice to years of frustration and spoke of the plight of gays who are oppressed in many nations.
“If there wasn’t this bigotry and hatred, then this disease could be eliminated far quicker than you could ever think,” John told reporters at the Amsterdam gathering.
“Basically what it comes down to is that these countries are discriminating very badly against LGBT people,” he said, slamming governments for limiting access for lesbian, gay, transgender and bi-sexual people to testing and treatment programmes
“And it’s holding us back, and until we can get that … idea out of our heads that gay people are lesser, then I’m afraid we will still be sitting here in 20 years discussing the same thing.”
It came just hours after he teamed up with Britain’s Prince Harry to launch a $1.2 billion initiative Tuesday to “break the cycle” of HIV transmission dubbed the MenStar Coalition and targeted at young men, among whom infections are on the rise.
The celebrity duo were lending their mega-wattage star power to efforts to end the lingering stigma around HIV, and protect future generations, with many young people who have been born with the virus attending the conference to talk about their struggles.