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IOC Defends Arrest of Italian Trans Ex-Parliment Member At Sochi For Breaking Gay Propaganda Law

Italian MP

The International Olympic Committee has come defending the Russian authorities’ decision to “remove ” Vladimir Luxuria  a transgender Italian ex-Parliament member and LGBT rights activist from the Olympic Village last week and contends she was “peacefully” escorted from the site and not detained, the AP reports.

Luxuria, who is also the first openly transgender member of any European parliament, was strolling through the Olympic village in a rainbow dress, scarf, and headpiece when she was reportedly removed by Russian plainclothes police officers. She says she was taken to a local police station by four men — who did not show her an official badge

“I was kept to take information, for a couple of hours, and then at last, a person talking English came, saying that I shouldn’t show Russian writings about LGBT rights,” Luxuria told Russia’s Kremlin-backed news outlet RuptlyTV.

Russian Police, and now the IOC however, deny the claims.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams told the AP that Luxuria had set out to demonstrate at the stadium and that, “We would ask anyone to make their case somewhere else,” because the games are not the proper venue for demonstrations. Additionally, Adams denies Luxuria was detained, saying, “I know her stated aim to demonstrate in the venue and I believe after a couple of hours when she finally got to the venue I think she was escorted from there peacefully, and not detained.

 

UPDATE: Via John Becker of The Bilerico Project

Vladimir Luxuria — a trans woman and former member of the Italian Parliament who was detained and released yesterday for protesting Russia’s anti-LGBT laws at the Sochi Olympics — was detained again today in Sochi and will be kicked out of the country tomorrow, according to multiple reports.

From the Associated Press:

An Italian activist shouting “It’s OK to be gay” and dressed in a rainbow-colored outfit and large headdress was detained Monday as she entered an arena to watch an Olympic hockey game.

Vladimir Luxuria, a former Communist lawmaker in the Italian parliament who has become a prominent transgender rights crusader and television personality, was stopped by four men and then driven away by police in a car with Olympic markings.
Luxuria later told The Associated Press she was kept in the car for about 10 minutes, then released in the countryside after the men had taken away her Olympic spectator pass. She eventually made it back to her hotel and said she was leaving Russia on Tuesday morning.

“They don’t say anything. They just were people who had to do this and they did it,” Luxuria said.

 

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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