Russians Detain Transgender Communist Shouting 'Gay Is OK' at Olympics

Russians Detain Transgender Communist Shouting 'Gay Is OK' at Olympics

Fans went to a gay-rights protest Monday night and a hockey game broke out.

Authorities in Sochi detained a former Italian legislator protesting at the Olympic Games for homosexual and transgender rights on Monday. Police removed Vladimir Luxuria, a man who dresses as a woman, from Shayba Arena after the flamboyantly dressed former parliamentarian shouted pro-gay slogans. Luxuria, well known to Italians as a television personality, won a seat in the Italian chamber of deputies as a member of the Communist Refoundation Party in 2006 only to lose it in the 2008 elections.

The Associated Press reports that Luxuria shouted “Gay is OK” and “It’s OK to be gay” in Russian and English to passersby in Olympic Park for about two hours on Monday. Failing to provoke an arrest, Luxuria took her roving protest to an Olympic hockey game, where she continued to shout pro-gay slogans. There, four plain-clothes policemen extracted the activist wearing a rainbow-colored wig from the arena into a car bearing the multicolored Olympic-rings insignia. Luxuria told the AP that the police took away her spectator pass and dropped her off away from the venue. She also claims to have been detained the previous evening, which Russian authorities deny.

Russia’s law prohibiting the “propaganda of homosexualism among minors” has been criticized by gay activists and the president of the United States, who sent several prominent gay athletes to Sochi in his stead.