BY WILLIAM DOUGLAS
MCCLATCHY FOREIGN STAFF
SOCHI, Russia — Adorned in rainbow colors from head to toe, Vladimir Luxuria was out and about — at least temporarily — in Olympic Park Monday night.
“It’s okay to be gay in Russia!” she said repeatedly in English and Russian in a voice as loud as her wardrobe as onlookers walked by. “It’s okay to be gay!”
Luxuria, a transgender former member of Italy’s parliament, looked no worse for wear the day after she said she was hauled into a Russian police station for having a rainbow-colored flag near Olympic Park that said “It Is OK to be Gay” in Russian.
Apparently it wasn’t okay with Russian officials who took Luxuria away again Monday night as she tried to enter Shayba Arena, where she tried to take in a women’s Olympic hockey match between Canada and Switzerland. Italian journalists reported that officials took Luxuria beyond the Olympic security zone and took her spectator pass, which is required to enter the zone and attend events. She is scheduled to leave Sochi Tuesday, which she apparently was scheduled to do anyway.
“I’m going to enjoy,” she said about an hour before being taken away in a car. “I’m going to say that I like very much the modernity of this place and I wish a modernity of mind of this country because there are a lot of homophobic episodes of violence and nobody seems to care about this because there is a terrible law saying you can’t talk about gay issues in public because there could be a minor listening to you.”