Putin responds to Elton John’s LGBT+ criticisms with rant against ‘transformers’ and ‘5 genders’

Russian president Vladimir Putin doubled down on his attack on western liberalism on Saturday, using a post-G20 press conference to rant against musician and activist Elton John’s criticism of his record on LGBT+ rights.

“They’ve thought up six or five genders – transformers, trans… I don’t even understand what it is myself,” he said. “They need to stop violently imposing their point of view on others.”

The British singer had earlier accused the Russian president of demonstrating hypocrisy in comments he made in an interview with the Financial Times. Mr Putin not only railed against the liberal idea and “excessive” homosexuality in general, but also claimed that the west had got Russia wrong when it came to LGBT+ rights and homophobia.

“I am not trying to insult anyone, because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia,” he said. “We have no problems with LGBT+ persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish … Let everyone be happy.”

Writing on social media, Mr John said he found “duplicity” in those comments.

“[You say] you want LGBT+ people to ‘be happy’ and that ‘we have no problem in that’. Yet Russian distributors chose to heavily censor my film Rocketman by removing all references to my finding true happiness through my 25-year relationship with David and the raising of my two beautiful sons,” the singer said.

*story by The Independent