Former Italian MP, Vladimiro Guadagno, aka Vladimir Luxuria, pictured here at a 2008 protest | Photo by Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images.
Europe's first out transgender parliamentarian, Vladimir Luxuria, says she was arrested and detained by Russian plain clothes police Sunday at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics for holding a sign that read "Gay is OK" in Russian. According to The Independent, the former Italian MP was arrested Sunday and released in the early hours Monday and was told "she was not allowed to display pro-gay slogans in public."
"I think it is important (to have) the opportunity to talk internationally about these things because otherwise these things happen in Russia and nobody knows, nobody cares," the 48-year-old Luxuria told fans later. "They think, 'Well, it's not in our country, it's far away, it's in Russia, who cares?'"
Olympic officials told The Independent that they had no record of her arrest and "a duty officer at Sochi's central police station told a reporter with the Associated Press that they had 'never had an Italian national in custody.'"
However, Adam Withnall writes that "reports in Russia suggested that arrests at unauthorized rallies are common, and that officers are regularly so swamped with paperwork that they will detain and then release those seen as minor offenders without registering the incident."
The former Italian MP told Reuters she'd be back out today, adding, "I tell you, if ... I don't have the opportunity to have a flag with 'It's OK to be gay' written on it I will shout it. I know how to say it in Russian."
A photo of Luxuria with Italian comedy duo Pio and Amedeo, who star in the Italian television program Reservoir Dogs, was posted to Facebook and Twitter, according to Towleroad, with the sign off that reads, "Everything is ok... good night #freeluxuria."