Vladimir Luxuria, a former member of the Italian Parliament and the first openly trans parliamentarian in Europe who was arrested for protesting Russia’s anti-LGBT laws at the Sochi Olympics, has been released from custody.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
An Italian gay-rights association said Sunday that Vladimir Luxuria, a former Italian member of parliament who is a transgendered gay-rights activist, was detained but later released by police in Sochi after unfurling a banner that said “gay is okay.”
Flavio Romani of Arcigay-Associazione LGBT said that in a phone conversation on Sunday, Luxuria told him she was being held at a detention center in or near Sochi. Romani later said that Luxuria had been freed with no charges. Sochi police couldn’t be reached for comment. Luxuria didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Luxuria, who is transgendered [sic], stood outside the main spectator entrance to the Olympics this weekend clad in a skirt with gay-pride rainbow colors waiving a rainbow umbrella and fan. Russians who were on their way to Saturday’s U.S.-Russia hockey game stopped to take pictures with her. A few Olympic volunteers huddled nearby watching the scene, but didn’t ask Luxuria to leave.
“I have come here with a rainbow flag because a man named Vladimir Putin is homophobic,” she said.
When approached by The Wall Street Journal outside the Olympic Park on Saturday, Luxuria said she felt she might be arrested under a controversial law signed last year banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.” The law mandates fines for speaking in defense of gay rights or saying gay relationships are equal to heterosexual ones in front of minors. Critics say the bill is written so broadly that it could be used to crack down on nearly any public expressions of support for gay rights.
Vladimir “Vladi” Luxuria born Wladimiro Guadagno in Foggia, Apulia (June 24, 1965) is an Italian actress, writer, politician and television host. Luxuria was a Communist Refoundation Party member of the Italian parliament, belonging to Romano Prodi’s L’Unione coalition. She was the first openly transgender member of Parliament in Europe, and the world’s second openly transgender MP after New Zealander Georgina Beyer. She lost her seat in the election of April, 2008. source