John M. Becker

Trans Former Italian MP Reportedly Arrested in Sochi

Filed By John M. Becker | February 16, 2014 4:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Italy, Russia, Russian anti-gay law, Russian anti-LGBT laws, Russian LGBT protest, Russian propaganda law, Sochi 2014, Sochi Olympics, Vladimir Luxuria

Vladimir Luxuria, a former member of the Italian Parliament and the first openly trans parliamentarian in Europe, has reportedly been arrested by Russian authorities in Sochi, Russia for staging a pro-LGBT protest at the Winter Olympics. Luxuria held a sign featuring a rainbow and the text "Gay is OK."

Luxuria tweeted this photo of her protest shortly before she was arrested:

vladimir_luxuria_putin-protest.png reports (via Google translate):

Vladimir Luxuria was arrested in Sochi. This was revealed was Imma Battaglia, honorary president of "Gay Project": Russian police detained the former deputy while waving the flag "Gay is OK" just outside the Medal Plaza... "I just got a call from Vladimir Luxuria," Battaglia explained...

"[A]ttitude of the [arresting] agents was brutal and aggressive. Nobody speaks English. Now she is alone in a room with neon lights on the face, allegedly in police custody. We ask for an immediate intervention of the Minister Bonino..."

"The 'Crisis Unit is already active for the detention of Vladimir Luxuria," announced the staff of the Foreign Minister Emma Bonino in a tweet. The Russian authorities have 24 hours to notify police custody at the Consulate, which is not yet officially received the news. But optimism shines through the Ministry which has to solve the case as soon as possible.

Roman LGBTs and allies will protest outside the Russian Embassy tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. local time to demand Luxuria's release.

Kudos to Ms. Luxuria for her courageous show of solidarity with persecuted LGBT Russians. I hope her treatment is humane and that she is released unharmed as quickly as possible.

UPDATE, 5:25 p.m. EST: McClatchy DC has just released an English-language report about Luxuria's arrest, and I've excerpted it after the jump. The report doesn't contain any new information, but might be easier to understand than the Google-translated versions above. (It uses the wrong pronouns for Ms. Luxuria, though.)

UPDATE 2, 8:45 p.m. EST: Vladimir Luxuria is free!

From McClatchy DC:

Vladimir Luxuria, who was Italy's first openly transgender elected official, was allegedly arrested after he held a rainbow-colored banner that said "Gay is OK" in Russian.

Luxuria also tweeted a picture of himself outside the Olympics' Medal Park holding a rainbow-colored hand fan. The message under the picture said 'I'm in Sochi! Regards with the colors of the rainbow, in the face of Putin!' Luxuria apparently was protesting a Russian anti-propaganda law approved last year that many perceive as anti-gay...

Italian wire services reported that Luxuira telephoned an Italian group called the Gay Project and told them that she had been arrested by Russian authorities. Imma Battaglia, honorary of the Gay Project, told Italy's LaPresse and AGI that Luxuria is 'alone in a room with neon lights on the face, allegedly in police custody.'

Luxuria was a member of Italy's Communist Refoundation Party.

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