During her Aug 9 concert in St Petersburg, Russia's former imperial capital, Madonna asked her fans to raise their hands in support of gays and lesbians. According to online reports, the pop icon also stripped to her bra to reveal the words "No Fear!" written on her back and called on her fans to show "love and appreciation for the gay community." Concertgoers also received pink wristbands to wear as a sign of tolerance of the gay community.
Earlier this year, St Petersburg passed a citywide law that fines those "promoting homosexuality" to minors. The suit alleges there were fans as young as 12 at the Aug 9 performance.
Although Russia legalised homosexuality in 1993 after the fall of the Soviet Union, it only ceased to classify it as a mental disorder in 1999. Anti-gay attitudes still run high in the country.
Darya Dedova, one of the activists who filed the lawsuit in a St Petersburg court, added that if they win the case the money will be sent to orphanages, reported Radio Australia.
Gay activists had earlier called on Madonna to cancel her concerts in Russia as a gesture of support for the gay community.