Melissa Etheridge is again speaking out for gay and lesbian equality, and this time she's sending her message through a new song.
The rocker debuted her new track, "Uprising of Love," in NYC this week, in conjunction with the launch of the same-named new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTI) non-profit organization. The group took its name from Melissa's song, which will be released commercially in early 2014.
Celebs including Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Jake Shears, Lance Bass, Lily Tomlin, Jim Parsons, James Franco, Julianne Moore, Judith Light, and Sigourney Weaver are all joining Etheridge to stand up in support of LGBTI rights in Russia, in the precipitous approach of the 2014 Sochi, Russia Olympic games.
The new non-profit's goal is twofold:
1. To support the LGBTI community in Russia and foster an atmosphere where Russians feel bolstered to be themselves and speak up for this cause, and …
2. To raise awareness among the international community to continue to build public pressure and vigilance.
Last Saturday, rocker Elton John played to a sold-out crowd in Moscow and openly challenged Russia's law's during his performance. "I am deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation that is now in place against the (homosexual) community here in Russia," John said from the stage to an applauding audience. "In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating. Harmony is what makes a happy family and a strong society."
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin again emphasized his support of his country's strict anti-gay propaganda laws, referring to them as protection against Western "so-called tolerance — genderless and infertile," equating it as a struggle against good and evil and a essential component of Russian nationalism.
Meanwhile, Russian gay rights advocates on Wednesday called on the International Olympic Committee to increase pressure on the Russian government and to denounce violence against LGBTI people. The U.S. Olympic committee has said that they're not telling U.S. athletes to remain quiet about the issue. At the same time, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun has said that they're "making sure our athletes are aware of the law and aware of the possibility of the consequences. Because it's our job, first and foremost, to keep them safe while they're in Russia."
For more information about Uprising of Love, and to see all of the celebs and musicians involved in the cause, head to their website.