Photo: Instagram [@jadethirlwall]

Jade Thrilwall is refusing to perform in Russia in protest of the country’s position on LGBTQ+ rights and equality.

The Little Mix member has been a vocal ally to the LGBTQ+ community for some time, with her work including fundraising for trans charity Mermaids and attending Pride events.

Speaking on the Table Manners with Jessie and Lennie Ware podcast, Thirlwall said deciding where to perform is done so on a “case-by-case” basis.

“For instance, we got a gig in Dubai one time, in my mind it either was I don’t go or I go and make a statement and give my fee to a charity,” the 28-year-old said.

“It’s case-by-case. I’ve got no intention of going to somewhere like Russia any time soon because I obviously don’t believe in what’s going on there.”

The Wasabi hitmaker added that places where discrimination against LGBTQ+ people is rife need allies “more than anywhere else”.

“Those places, more than anywhere else, need someone to turn up as an ally and fly that flag for them so they don’t feel so alone,” said Thirlwall.

“I think as an Arab woman as well, it’s very important for me with my Middle East fans to show them that they can have someone to look up to and realise they’re not alone in it.”

According to the singer, trips to Benidorm as a child were the beginning of her LGBTQ+ allyship.

“I didn’t obviously understand what that was, I would just see these divas like Diana Ross and Cher and be obsessed with them.”

“I’d always associate Benidorm with this magical land where everyone was accepted,” she stated. “But then we’d come back home and it would be like: ‘Oh we’re not into that.’”

Thirlwall explained that homophobia is alive and well and is something she has seen throughout her life.

She said: “From a young age I didn’t agree with it, but I didn’t know how to express that I didn’t agree with it.”

For her, anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination is learnt from a young age which can only change when people are raised with a more accepting mindset.

“For a lot of people they are willing to listen but they just don’t understand it as it’s just passed through generations,” Thirlwall added. “So if your grandad is being brought up to be homophobic, of course their son will listen to that, unless they’re gay.

“That toxic masculinity will seep through each generation until somebody tries to change it.”