Europe's First Trans Parliamentarian Arrested at Olympics for Gay Sign

Valdimir Luxuria says she was arrested and detained for carrying a "Gay is OK" sign but she's not backing down.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

February 17 2014 11:26 AM ET

Former Italian MP, Vladimiro Guadagno, aka Vladimir Luxuria, Italy's first transgender member of parliament (pictured here at a 2008 protest) was recently arrested in Sochi for holding a "Gay is OK" sign. Photo by Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images.

Europe's first out transgender parliamentarian, Vladimir Luxuria, says she was 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 detained 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 detention 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."