Vladimir Luxuria before her arrest on Monday (Pic: Gayrussia.eu)
A transgender activist and former member of the Italian Parliament was arrested for the second time at the Sochi Winter Olympics on Monday after protesting against Russia’s anti-gay laws.
Vladimir Luxuria (48) was detained after she walked around the host city’s Olympic Park for two hours wearing a rainbow outfit and headdress and shouting “Gay is OK” and “It’s OK to be gay” in English and Russian.
When she attempted to attend a hockey game at Shayba Arena, four plainclothes officers forcibly removed her from the venue, took her to a car with Olympic markings and drove her away.
She later told AP that she was dropped off in the countryside after about 10 minutes and was able to make her way back.
“I was very, very afraid this time because the first time they said, ‘It’s OK for the first time, don’t do it again for the second time.’ So, this time I was a little bit afraid,” Luxuria said. “But they just left me outside, in the country, there, outside and that’s it.”
The day before, Luxuria claimed she was detained for about three hours after she held up a sign that proclaimed “Gay is okay”. Russian police denied having arrested her.
Speaking to RT, Luxuria said that she had a message for Russian President Vladimir Putin: “I would say to Mr. Putin that he should show modernity not only with these beautiful buildings. You have to be modern and open in your mind.”
There are reports that Luxuria has been asked to leave Russia and will be escorted by the authorities to the airport today.
A television personality, actor and LGBTI activist, Luxuria became the first openly transgender member of a European parliament in 2006, and the world’s second openly transgender MP after New Zealander Georgina Beyer.