Image credit: Chris Weger
It’s no question that Madonna is considered a queer icon, just because of her decades-long career alone. But the 61-year-old Queen of Pop has also ensured that her actions also make her worth the iconic status the LGBTQ community has bestowed on her.
In a tweet, Madonna revealed that she was fined $1 million for speaking up about gay rights at a concert in St. Petersburg, Russia during her 2012 MDNA tour. This is because St. Petersburg had a city ordinance at the time that criminalized the discussion of anything LGBTQ-related as Russian authorities believed it would “convert” children.
The Material Girl was not threatened by the city ordinances, choosing to go ahead with her speech that took note of the fear and hate that people who are different receive. She called for respect towards the gay community, as well as treating them with love, compassion, and tolerance.
Watch the video of the speech here:
I made this speech at a concert in St. Petersburg 8 years ago. I was fined 1 million dollars by The government for supporting the Gay community.— Madonna (@Madonna) July 20, 2020
I never paid……………….. #freedomofspeech #powertothepeople#mdna https://t.co/6wH53V4aUn pic.twitter.com/LGhV5gUerc
As the Advocate notes, the St. Petersburg stop of Madonna’s MDNA tour was already controversial even before Madonna’s speech, as it had received terrorist threats beforehand because of Madonna’s support for the feminist punk-rock collective, Pussy Riot. The threats were credible enough that the US Embassy in Russia even had to warn concert attendees and encouraged them to ensure their personal safety.
Madonna also had to contend with a $10.7 million lawsuit filed by a number of groups because of the speech, while a Russian official called her a “moralizing slut” because of her support for Pussy Riot. A Russian court dismissed the lawsuit, noting that there were no minors present at the concert.
On top of that, the singer now claims that she was fined $1 million for the speech, a fine which she said she had no plan of paying.
In response to her revelations, fans of Madonna camped under her mentions and praised the superstars. One of them called her courageous, bold, and grave. Yet another claimed that Madonna has tirelessly worked for the LGBTQ community throughout the years. Lastly, one fan declared that it was actually this principled stand that made fans love her and declare her a queer icon.