Vladimir Luxuria, former Communist MP for Italy and current television personality, was detained twice by Russian police for her gay-rights activism in Sochi.
Her first detainment came on Sunday after holding up a sign in the Olympic Park which read “Gay is OK” in Russian. According to Imma Battaglia, director of Italy’s Gay Project action group, Luxuria’s arrest on Sunday was no walk in the park: “The arrest by the agents was brutal and aggressive. No one spoke English. She now finds herself alone in a room with neon lights shone into her face presumably in a state of arrest.”
Battaglia’s report was corroborated by Luxuria, who stated, ”It’s not nice to be all alone in a room with a neon light not knowing what’s going on.”
Despite being reported by multiple sources, Russian police deny detaining Luxuria on Monday due to no formal records of such an occurrence.
While Luxuria may have not enjoyed staying in a neon-lit room all by herself, it was not enough to deter her from protesting once again. Luxuria was arrested for a second time on Monday after planning to attend a hockey game while wearing a rainbow headdress and sporting a gay-pride flag. Before heading to the game, Luxuria was shouting “Gay is OK” for approximately 2 hours outside of Shayba Arena.
Sono a Sochi! Saluti con i colori della rainbow, alla faccia di Putin! pic.twitter.com/E68Lgtadgv
— vladimir luxuria (@vladiluxuria) February 16, 2014
When asked why she continued to protest at the games, Luxuria responded, “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. They think: ‘Well, it’s not in our country, it’s far away, it’s in Russia, who cares?'”
Protests at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi stem from a recent bill passed by the Russian government which makes it illegal to produce propaganda for gay-rights in the presence of children or if it will be found offensive by particular religious groups. Due to this law and International Olympic Committee (IOC) laws outlawing political propaganda at the Olympic Games, the IOC supported Luxuria’s removal from the stadium on Monday: ”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, not detained,” stated IOC spokesman Mark Adams.
Even though she has already been detained twice, one should not expect Luxuria to stop protesting anytime soon: “I think this is so important. For me, I’ve experienced in my childhood what it means to be beaten up or abused for the fact that I’m transgender. If I stop wearing the colours of the rainbow, just because somebody took away a flag from me, that means that these people win.”
Image via YouTube