Elton John has spoken out about the trend of 'gay bashing' in America's schools, insisting the country is no longer the one he fell in love with when he first became a superstar in the early 1970s.
A recent spate of high school student suicides has put the issue in the headlines - many were taunted over their sexual preferences.
And the appalled Brit now feels compelled him to speak out in the hope that his comments and those of other gay and sympathetic celebrities will make bullies think twice.
The "Candle in the Wind" hitmaker tells USA Today, "People were saying gays should be beaten up, we're not part of God's universe. What kind of mentality is this? When I first came here, it was such a loving country. It's never been in a more horrible place. This is not the America I love.
"We've come so far, with a black president, it's mystifying that this can still be going on.
"Jesus Christ taught tolerance. That's the example we should follow. We should forgive, understand, be compassionate. We're not all the same. Thank God! It would be so boring."