Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez

It’s been reported that Russia has refused to grant American pop singer Selena Gomez a visa over fears that she’ll speak out for LGBT rights.

Gomez was as a result forced to cancel her two concerts in Russia, planned for 23 and 25 September, reported the Moscow Times.

The young star had been urged by a petition to “let LGBT folks in Russia know that we stand with them, and that they are not alone”.

The visa refusal comes after Madonna and Lady Gaga expressed their support for LGBT rights while performing in Russia last year, falling foul of local ‘gay propaganda’ laws.

Madonna and her concert promoters were sued by nine conservative groups for making pro-gay comments during her St. Petersburg concert in August 2012. A judge eventually dismissed all charges against the Material Girl.

Russia has since enacted a similar federal law that bans any public show of support for LGBTI equality.

In a statement, John Becker, creator the of the petition, said that “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.”

Russian concert promoters have warned that the development could see international performers shying away from visiting Russia.

Openly gay pop legend Elton John is planning to perform in Russia in December. It is not known if he has secured a visa.

“As a gay man, I can’t leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ve got to go,” he said recently.

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