Elton John urges Ukraine to accept gays

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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Elton John has called on Ukraine's business leaders to accept gays in the workplace, telling them that policies "designed to repress LGBT citizens ... hinder economic development."

John, who is gay and an outspoken activist, spoke to hundreds of business and political leaders at a high-profile forum in Kiev.

The singer pointed to studies showing that emerging economies which protect LGBT rights have a higher gross domestic product per capita. He says "so being tolerant and inclusive is not only the morally right thing to do, for the new Ukraine, it's the smart thing to do."

Take a look at some images of Elton John throughout the years:

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Elton John through the years
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Elton John urges Ukraine to accept gays
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 22: Photo of Elton JOHN; First publicity pictures - in Hampstead (Photo by Val Wilmer/Redferns)
(NO SUB AGENCIES IN UK, FRANCE, HOLLAND, SWEDEN, FINLAND, JAPAN.) Elton John 1974 during Elton John File Photos 1970's in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
CIRCA 1971: Pop singer Elton John poses for a portrait wearing glasses in circa 1971. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1972: Pop singer Elton John poses for a portrait backstage in circa 1972. (Photo by Robert Altman/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
English singer-songwriter and pianist Elton John, London, 1973. (Photo By Michael Putland/Getty Images)
English pop singer Elton John in a white jacket and rococco spectacles during a photoshoot at his home for his 1974 Greatest Hits album, 1974. (Photo by Terry O'Neill/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1974: Pop singer Elton John performs onstage at the piano wearing a giant fuzzy hat in circa 1974. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - OCTOBER 01: Photo of Elton JOHN (Photo by Robert Knight Archive/Redferns)
LONDON - 1975: Elton John performs in concert circa 1975 in London, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
CIRCA 1977: Pop singer Elton John performs with Kiki Dee in circa 1977. (Photo by Waring Abbott/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Singer Olivia Newton-John and musician Elton John attend the 'Grease' Premiere Party on June 13, 1978 at Studio 54 in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Musician Elton John performs onstage, Chicago, Illinois, September 5, 1980. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
SHEPPERTON - JUNE 1981: Elton John at Shepperton Studios near London on 1st June 1981 during the filming of a videogram for his album The Fox. (Photo by Brian Cooke/Redferns)
English pop star, Elton John, performing in a colourful costume at the Hammersmith Odeon. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
TUNISIA - MARCH 31: Evening party 'Cartier' in El Kantaoui in Tunisia on March 31th,1983 - Elton John was overwhelmed when' cartier' offered him its latest gold Plated sun glasses which he isn't wearing here. (Photo by Laurent MAOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MAY 6: Elton John performs on stage, with at Watford flag on his piano, at Ahoy on 6th May 1984 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns)
LONDON - MAY 1985: Pop singer Elton John poses for a portrait in a film studio in May 1985 in London, England. (Photo by David Corio/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Elton John and Joan Collins during Elton John and Joan Collins at Langan's Brasserie at Langan's Brasserie in London, Great Britain. (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)
British pop singer Elton John performs at the "For the Love of Children" benefit for children with AIDS and other serious illnesses, at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, July 9, 1988. (AP Photo/Alan Greth)
NEW YORK, NY – OCT 22: Elton John and Donatella Versace attend the Grand Opening of Planet Hollywood on October 22, 1991 in New York City. (Photo by Sonia Moskowitz/IMAGES/Getty Images)
Elizabeth Taylor and Elton John backstage before Elton John performs at Shea Stadium on August 21, 1992 in New York City.
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: Singer and composer Elton John stands next to commemorative display marking his record-breaking performance 28 November, 2001, at Madison Square Garden in New York. John will perform his 53rd show at the Garden on 28 November, breaking the previous record of 52 performances held by the Grateful Dead since 1994. John's first concert was on 23 September, 1973. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Musician Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice attend the 67th Annual Academy Awards on March 27, 1995 at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
MODENA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06: The picture shows opera singer Luciano Pavarotti (R) with Sir Elton John during the 1996 Pavarotti & Friends charity concert, in Modena, Italy. The Opera Star Luciano Pavarotti has died at the age of 71 at his home in Modena, Italy at 5am local time on September 6, 2007. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year. (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 1229 -- Pictured: Musical guest Elton John performs on September 22, 1997 -- (Photo by: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Jim Carrey, Mariah Carey and Elton John (Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)
Elton John & Billie Jean king during Smash Hits with Billie Jean King and Elton John at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. (Photo by R. Diamond/WireImage)
MILAN, ITALY - DECEMBER 16: Elton John performs at Datch forum on December 16, 2003 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Morena Brengola/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 09: Elton John performs on Day 3 of the 8th Annual Outside Lands Festival at Golden Gate Park on August 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage)
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The British singer and composer played two outdoor concerts in Kiev in 2007 and 2012 to raise awareness for Ukraine's AIDS epidemic, which is the worst in Europe.

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