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Gay rights activist wearing rainbow outfit, headdress arrested at Olympic Park

Monday, February 17, 2014
Vladimir Luxuria

Steve Barker, AP
Vladimir Luxuria, a former Communist lawmaker in the Italian parliament and prominent crusader for transgender rights, walks in Olympic Park at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Luxuria said she was detained by police at the Olympics after being stopped while carrying a rainbow flag that read in Russian: “Gay is OK.” Police on Monday denied this happened.

Updated: 2:30 p.m. EST

SOCHI, Russia — 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.

It was not known where she was taken.

Luxuria had been walking around the Olympic Park in Sochi for about two hours. She was shouting “Gay is OK” and “It’s OK to be gay” in both English and Russian.

As she was being led away from Shayba Arena, she was shouting “I have a ticket.”

Luxuria earlier said she was detained on Sunday evening by Russian police who told her she should not wear clothes with slogans supporting gay rights. Police denied detaining her.

On Monday, the Italian activist walked around the Olympic Park with a group of journalists, attracting onlookers. Some Russian fans stopped to pose for photos with her.

Luxuria and her colorful outfit did not attract much negative reaction except for a group of young Russian men who shouted to television cameras in broken English: “Trans not good.”

Luxuria arrived at a ticket inspection barrier at the hockey arena just before an evening game was due to begin. She passed through the barrier and was being given directions to her seat when four men who were not wearing any identification surrounded her and started shouting “take her away.” They then led her out of the venue and to the parking lot.

Before she went to the stadium, Luxuria said she did not want to be arrested.

“It’s not nice to be all alone in a room with a neon light not knowing what’s going on,” she said, but then added it was important for her “to stand up for the rights of lesbian, gay and transgender people all over the world.”

It was not immediately clear why Luxuria was detained, although last year, the Russian parliament passed a law banning “propaganda” of non-traditional sexual relations among minors.

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74 more reader comments:

  1. Russia….smh

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:53pm
  2. Bravo Vladimiro Guadagno , from your old friens Jan Mol Amsterdam, I used to be your guest in ROMA

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:55pm
  3. XXXXX

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:55pm
  4. Fuck Russia.

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:55pm
  5. Looking good.

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:55pm
  6. Feeling good!

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:07pm
  7. >:c

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:56pm
  8. Cant be free not even in the Olympic Park in Russia?

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:56pm
  9. …why?? Why did they arrest her? I’m so sick of this all!

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:56pm
  10. transgender and gay proud to love men. proud to show transgender and rainbow colors. we should beable to love who we want and marry as well.

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:57pm
  11. sadly stupid people have yet to think about that

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:11pm
  12. I LOVE GAYS AND LESBIANS! I LOVE EVERYONE!

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:11pm
  13. true i live in kentucky and proud of who i am. one of these days will share my life with the right man. we all should be proud of who they are. always follow your heart that right 1 will love you for that.

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:17pm
  14. Con Jaap Schipper

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:57pm
  15. Honestly…SMH…

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:57pm
  16. I commend the bravery and admiration of this individual for making this statement. But it’s also self defeating. Your going to end up in jail and what does that accomplish? There are other more productive ways to make a statement for a worthy cause as I’ve had things said to me for being gay in Chelsea, New York. And trust me, I’ve said things back such as, “unlike a straight man, I will hit you.”

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:57pm
  17. That's the point, when you fight for a cause, you fight to get arrested, then is when your point comes across, if you are afraid, you stay in the closet then, with the mostwer you are afraid off

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:13pm
  18. Pumpkin, as a gay man living in Chelsea Manhattan I know all to well about discrimination. And I fight back. But not to spite myself.

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:18pm
  19. Good points Michael but I still wish people would allow others to express themselves as they wish, as long as they're not harming anyone. This nation has a long way to go not only in tolerance, but ACCEPTANCE.

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:43pm
  20. right like Ghandi was self defeated or MLK, Jr. or Mandela was self defeated or like Jesus or Susan B. Anthony were self defeated. The only one here that is self defeated is you. You give up without a fight out of fear. Fear is the mind killer, fear is the little death. Do not give in to fear.

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 9:51pm
  21. fuck russia.. to the butt

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:58pm
  22. I LOVE LESBIANS!

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:59pm
  23. its a pretty sweet headdress, I know Id wear it while driving my cab

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 5:59pm
  24. wow why is anyone at all surprised?

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:01pm
  25. she knew shed be arrested – but did it anyway – she’s brave to face the Russian police who will likely at best, beat her up and detain her for a long time before deporting her. The worst, don’t even wanna think about that but Russian police are known to rape and sexually brutalize LGBT victims

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:02pm
  26. How about we stop talking about the villains here and start talking about the heroes? Here’s someone who was walking around in rainbows shouting “Gay is okay,” knowing full well she’d almost definitely be arrested. THAT is the kind of activism we need! WELL DONE!

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:03pm
  27. she wanted to be arrested so she was. I think she will find russian police a bit more strict than in Italy or the USA i also think while its good to bring attention to a cause its also bad she had to make it all about her and not the olympics.

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:05pm
  28. bravo

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:06pm
  29. nice

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:07pm
  30. People can’t where rainbow bright colors no where in Russia huh? smh

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:10pm
  31. No. Not Fuck Russia.
    It’s Not ALL of Russia that is full of Hate… there’s Russian LGBT Community there & Allies & Everyday People that have Nothing to do with Asshole “Leaderz” of countries or Terrorist Individualz or Groupz of Hateful Bigoted People….
    So Before YOU Wanna Say: FUCK RUSSIA… pull your head out your ass & realize that ppl are ppl everywhere in the world….
    ~All We Can Do, Is Try To Better Our Own Personal Bestz~
    ~Gypsy LionHeart~

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:12pm
  32. Beautiful headdress. Such a shame, I hope when my children get to be my age, they’ll get to dance in the streets with everyone from all walks of life and live in peace.

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:13pm
  33. I hope she’s ok. Gorgeous outfit! Outrageous that she was arrested!

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:13pm
  34. Fuck Russia they can all die

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:14pm
  35. Would be helpful if you indicated where this information came from… since getting honest info out of Sochi seems to be a challenge, to say the least.

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:15pm
  36. Bahhh–

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:18pm
  37. Brave and fierce!!!

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:26pm
  38. Hoping for her safety

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:27pm
  39. :-/

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:29pm
  40. Maybe, maybe not.

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:47pm
  41. Sad people who find decorative clothing threatening!

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:47pm
  42. Did you read the article? They may have said that, but she called attention to herself by yelling "Gay is OK" in Russian and English for two hours. She was belligerent. It seems this is exactly what she wanted. I'm just glad it's all making headlines. All the bigotry needs to be exposed even if it is a publicity ploy.

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:03pm
  43. Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:50pm
  44. why don't you try reading the article you linked to. it's full of quotes from her.

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:55pm
  45. Why don't you shut the fuck up I read the article and there is not ONE direct quote from her from LGBTQNation - it's all copy paste & plagiarize without talking to her directly. Shove your LYING BULLSHIT down your own throat and choke on it IDiOT

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 6:56pm
  46. How REAL JOURNALISM works is that the JOURNALIST asks the subject of their allegation for a DIRECT COMMENT to respond to their allegation that she was NOT detained. Now SHUT THE FUCK UP and YOU READ THE ARTICLE JERKOFF

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:00pm
  47. COPY PASTE PLAGIARIZE - NO FACT CHECK http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2014/02/former-italian-lawmaker-briefly-detained-in-sochi-for-displaying-gay-is-ok-banner/ A transgender activist and former member of the Italian Parliament was arrested and briefly detained by Russian authorities in Sochi after she reportedly held up a banner that read “Gay is OK,” according to the leader of an Italian gay rights group. Romani, president of Arcigay, an Italian gay-rights advocacy organization. Romani said he had spoken to Luxuria by telephone from the police station where she said she had been detained, and again when she was released shortly after 3 a.m. local time in Sochi on Monday morning. There has been no official confirmation by Russian authorities regarding her arrest.

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:04pm
  48. COPY PASTE PLAGIARIZE - NO FACT CHECK Vladimir Luxuria was arrested at the Olympic Park for allegedly violating the country’s anti-gay propaganda law, but was released with no charges filed, reported the Italian news agency ANSA.http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/cronaca/2014/02/16/Sochi-Luxuria-fermata-polizia_10087466.html NOW YOU READ IT AND SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU LIAR

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:07pm
  49. and now this is a The Washington Blade FACT CHECKED article http://www.washingtonblade.com/2014/02/17/former-italian-lawmaker-reportedly-arrested-olympics/

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:48pm
  50. Are you all right?... It is bad journalism, I agree, but there is no need for swearing and name-calling...

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 11:16pm
  51. No there is no need for this shit from Randy Petersen who spewed this shit at me "why don't you try reading the article you linked to. it's full of quotes from her."

    Replied on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 11:19pm
  52. Good Old Mother Russia! Knows what is right in the world. Nasty people.

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:08pm
  53. The only real news to come out of the Olympics so far, I just found my new hero…….. Boycott Russia!

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:14pm
  54. They should leave him alone. What harm was he doing? He was expressing himself, what’s wrong about that?

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:41pm
  55. Leadership!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:46pm
  56. The Olympics and Russia have become a ridiculous joke.

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:59pm
  57. <3

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 8:00pm
  58. What do the Russians do when it rains and a rainbow appears?

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 8:14pm
  59. It takes real courage to be who you are in Russia..

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 8:31pm
  60. Where is the UN the protect the LGBT being persecuted and imprisoned in Russia, Africa, and the Middle East?

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 8:34pm
  61. I shared this photo and instantly had a friend of mine calling this activist “rude/culturally insensitive” to Russians. The friend seemed to take issue with the fact that this activist is not Russian herself. I replied back that championing for basic human rights in Russia should be global effort, particularly when Russian gays live in constant fear of violence and death if they speak out. I would like to open the floor for discussions regarding the outlook that activists from other countries being outspoken on gay rights is “culturally insensitive/rude” to Russians. Thoughts?

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 8:49pm
  62. Wtf….wasn’t hurting anyone

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 9:17pm
  63. :(

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 10:16pm
  64. Hope she’s ok

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 11:16pm
  65. I can’t really feel bad cuz people know russians are bigots…

    Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014 at 11:46pm
  66. Welcome to Russia, the country of intolerance and brutality.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 12:01am
  67. WE SUPPORT YOU!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 12:11am
  68. Rights start with actions. Good for her

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 12:36am
  69. Bad use of a comma lol

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 1:09am
  70. Transgender people are always the bravest.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 1:21am
  71. There are so many people who have trained for years and years to be able to go to the Olympics to compete. They deserve their place and space and time without having to take on a problem that is not part of their time there. I find it selfish. Gay has always been OK. You do not need permission to live your life as you choose. Why do you need to be activist about it?For sure there are people competing who are gay. …but their talents are more important than to focus on a personal issue like being gay.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 1:45am
  72. I’ve met her in november of last year.
    She is a great person, and her huge amount of media and politic influence help her fighting for people who cannot risk for themself.

    Too bad she was the only one of the amount of stars and politicians “gay friendly” that has the courage to spit in the mafia-ridden russian government’s face.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 2:05am
  73. Sick Russian bastards!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 2:14am
  74. This is a person with courage!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 2:49am