Vladimir Luxuria Hub




Why Didn’t More Olympians Speak Out in Sochi Against Russia’s Anti-gay Laws?

German olympians

With the constant stream of athletes, politicians, and companies speaking out strongly against Russia’s oppressive anti-gay laws in the months leading up to the Olympics, you might have thought that Russian authorities would have their hands full dealing with up-in-arms activists once the Games actually began.

Unfortunately for the LGBT citizens of Russia, the public criticism from Olympic athletes was, for the most part, muted in Sochi. The Wall Street Journal reports:  

There were no high-profile proactive statements or blatant symbolic gestures by athletes. A few athletes criticized the law when asked by reporters to weigh in, and a Belgian performer who supports gay rights displayed rainbow colors, a symbol of the gay-rights movement, during her performance at the Games.

LuxuriaBut the only really noticeable pro-gay act inside Olympic Park came when Italian Vladimir Luxuria [pictured], a transgender gay rights activist, showed up at a women's hockey game in a rainbow skirt after broadcasting that she planned a protest. Police removed her from the park. A day earlier police detained her briefly after she unfurled a "gay is okay" banner outside the park.

So what happened?

Ashley wagnerThe paper points to the many athletes who said they had already gone on record against the anti-gay laws and felt that using the Olympic platform to promote a political or human rights cause would be an unnecessary distraction from the competition.

"I really have already voiced my opinion and spoken out," said U.S. figure skater Ashley Wagner [pictured], responding to questions from reporters. Wagner has been outspoken in her criticism of the Russian laws. "My stand against the LGBT legislation here in Russia is really the most that I can do right now," she said. "I'm here to compete first and foremost."

How athletes in Sochi handled concerns over gay rights varied. Belle Brockhoff, the gay Olympic snowboarder who had promised to “rip on [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] ass” during Sochi interviews, failed to medal and was given minimal press coverage. Gay former Olympian Johnny Weir’s decision to work the Games for NBC but not directly address gay rights in Russia was met with scorn from gay rights groups in the U.S. The German team, meanwhile, debuted a rather gay-looking rainbow outfit for the Games [pictured above], but maintained a steadfast denial that it was meant as a protest statement against Russia's anti-gay laws. Other athletes felt that wearing the 'Principle 6' line of protest merchandise was the proper avenue for Olympians to (indirectly) speak out for LGBT rights. 

Billie jean king_2Tennis legend Billie Jean King, who was among the gay athletes in President Obama’s Olympic delegation, said she supported athletes’ decision to avoid public demonstrations that could get them booted, but disagreed that the Olympics isn’t a place for politics. 

"It is an unbelievable opportunity to exchange ideas and hear each other," she said, standing on a hotel balcony just outside Olympic Park. "Hopefully, out of all these athletes we will have some teachers."

To believe the Olympics can remain entirely separate from politics, she says, amounts to "keeping your head in the sand."

'68 saluteIndeed, using the Olympics as a platform for social activism is nothing new, with the most memorable incident being the black power salute by medal winners John Carlos and Tommie Smith in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. It’s sad to think then, that these Olympics came and went without a similar moment of solidarity with LGBT equality, especially when such international attention was given to the issue. Just imagine how iconic (and bold) of a statement could have been made if a simple kiss was shared between two same-sex medal winners on an Olympic podium while in Sochi.

Now that would have kept the conversation going long after the Olympic spotlight and journalists faded from Sochi. 

The International Olympic Committee, which is under pressure to be more selective in its picking of future host cities, has said it’s impractical to eliminate potentially controversial countries, otherwise the Olympics would be held “in only two places.” Putin, for his part, praised the IOC for taking a “risk” by entrusting the Games with Russia. In a post-Olympics meeting attended by IOC president Thomas Bach and committee members, Putin said one of the main aims of the Games was to show off to the world the new face of post-Soviet Russia, a country he has run since 2000. 

"It was important to show that we are a country with goodwill which knows how to meet guests and create a celebration not just for itself but all sports fans in the world."

With the Games over, however, one can't help but feel a sense of mounting concern for Russia's "goodwill" towards its already marginalized LGBT community. The removal of parenting rights for gay couples in Russia, for example, could very well be the next step in Putin's anti-gay agenda. 


Trans Activist and Former Italian MP Vladimir Luxuria Describes Detention in Sochi: AUDIO

As you may have read in our earlier reports, trans activist and former Italian MP Vladimir Luxuria was detained twice in Sochi over the weekend. Michelangelo Signorile interviewed Luxuria about her ordeal on his SiriusXM radio show yesterday.

1_luxuriaThe first time she was detained she was brought to a police station for several hours after trying to visit the gay nightclub Mayak in Sochi. She was carrying a rainbow banner at the time.

The second time she was with her colleagues and they were detained outside the hockey arena after purchasing a ticket to a women's hockey game. She was wearing a rainbow outfit at the time because they had told her she couldn't carry a banner of any kind. She describes being dumped in a rural area.

“At a certain moment I was really afraid, asking, ‘What you going to do with me?'" she recounted, noting that the men were making and receiving phone calls. “I was afraid, [thinking], 'Maybe they’re going to beat us. Maybe they’re going to arrest me.' They let us out, in the middle of nowhere, in the countryside, in the dark. It was a Fellini atmosphere. Me dressed as a fairy queen in the Russian country. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried. I was very nervous. Now I know that the Italian consulate was in touch with the Russian chief of police. And the order was to arrest me and keep me in prison but thanks to the intervention of the Italian consulate, I was released.”

Luxuria said that what authorities seemed to really be afraid of was that she would shout something as a political protest near an Olympic venue and that it would appear on TV.

Listen to two segments of the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...


IOC Defends Removal of Italian LGBT Activist Vladimir Luxuria from Sochi Olympic Village

1_luxuria

Yesterday Towleroad reported that transgender former Italian MP and activist Vladimir Luxuria and her companions Pio and Amedeo, a duo who star in the Italian television program called Reservoir Dogs and call themselves the Hyenas, were removed from the Sochi Olympic village near the hockey arena.

Luxuria reported that they were hustled away and dumped in the countryside. Her spectator pass was also confiscated:

"I was very, very afraid this time because the first time they said, 'It's OK for the first time, don't do it again for the second time.' So, this time I was a little bit afraid," Luxuria said. "But they just left me outside, in the country, there, outside and that's it."

The International Olympic Committee is defending the actions of Sochi authorities, the AP reports:

IOC spokesman Mark Adams said Tuesday that "what happened yesterday is still a little bit unclear," but said Luxuria had set out to demonstrate at the stadium.

"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," Adams said.

He said Olympic Park and the venues are not the right place for demonstrations, and added: "We would ask anyone to make their case somewhere else."

Luxuria was wearing a rainbow outfit and shouting 'Gay is okay' in both Russian and English when she was apprehended.

According to Italian media reports, Luxuria and the two men were asked to leave the country and were to be escorted to the airport this morning at 11:30 am by the Russia Foreign Ministry.


Pussy Riot Arrested in Sochi Under Pretext of Theft: VIDEO

Sohci_pussyriot

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Maria Alyokhina, two members of Pussy Riot who were recently in the U.S. (you saw them here for their hilarious appearance on The Colbert Report) were detained by police while walking around Sochi, they said via Twitter, accused of an unspecified crime.

Photos taken by Tolokonnikova (above and below) from the police van were posted to Twitter. "Masha Alekhine, and I another participant Pussy Riot go to the police department," says one.

The NYT reports:

In a series of messages on Twitter, Ms. Tolokonnikova said that the two women had been also been detained on Sunday and Monday. On Monday, she said they were held by the Federal Security Service, known as the F.S.B.

“On the 16th we were detained for seven hours,” she wrote. “On the 17th, we spent 10 hours with the F.S.B. and today we are in a police wagon, accused of theft.”

Ms. Tolokonnikova wrote that they had come to Sochi intended to carry out a protest.

“We are in Sochi to hold a Pussy Riot action,” she wrote. “The song is called, ‘Putin Will Teach You to Love the Motherland.” However, she said they had not yet carried out any protest and were merely walking in Sochi when they were stopped by the authorities on Tuesday.

Eight people altogether were arrested with the women as they walked to the Sochi seaport, a local activist reported.

Watch a Euronews report on the detention, AFTER THE JUMP...

The arrests come just a day after trans Italian activist and former MP Vladimir Luxuria was harassed and detained for a second time after she appeared at the Olympic village in a rainbow outfit. Luxuria was scheduled to be escorted to the airport and asked to leave today, according to Italian media.

The Sochi authorities seem very eager to suppress anyone they think might engage in political protest within sight of the Olympic village.

2_sochi_pussyriot

Continue reading "Pussy Riot Arrested in Sochi Under Pretext of Theft: VIDEO" »


Vladimir Luxuria Detained Again in Sochi Wearing Rainbow Outfit, Dumped in Rural Area: VIDEO

1_luxuria

Vladimir Luxuria, a transgender former Italian MP who was detained for several hours on Sunday by Russian police, appeared at the Olympic Village in Sochi on Monday wearing a rainbow-colored outfit and headdress and was being detained again. Luxuria was driven away by authorities in a car with Olympic markings (photo here), according to the AP.

Luxuria was hustled away from the hockey arena by four men not wearing identification who abandoned her in a rural area:

"I was very, very afraid this time because the first time they said, 'It's OK for the first time, don't do it again for the second time.' So, this time I was a little bit afraid," Luxuria said. "But they just left me outside, in the country, there, outside and that's it."

...

Luxuria had been walking around the Olympic Park in Sochi for about two hours. She was shouting "Gay is OK" and "It's OK to be gay" in both English and Russian.

As she was being led away from Shayba Arena, she was shouting "I have a ticket."

She spoke to RT about her detention on Sunday before the incident on Monday:

"I was kept to take information for a couple of hours and then at last a person talking English came and said I shouldn't show Russian writings about LGBT rights."

She also had a message for Putin:

"I would say to Mr. Putin that he should show modernity not only with these beautiful buildings. You have to be modern and open in your mind."

Watch her interview with RT, AFTER THE JUMP...

Luxuria arrived in Sochi with Pio and Amedeo, a comedy duo who star in the Italian television program called Reservoir Dogs and call themselves the Hyenas. The Hyenas were also taken by authorities and abandoned in the countryside.

According to Italian media reports, Luxuria and the two men have been asked to leave the country and will be escorted to the airport tomorrow morning at 11:30 am by the Russia Foreign Ministry.

Continue reading "Vladimir Luxuria Detained Again in Sochi Wearing Rainbow Outfit, Dumped in Rural Area: VIDEO" »


Former Italian MP Vladimir Luxuria After Release from Sochi Jail: PHOTO

2_luxuria

A photo posted to the Facebook of Pio and Amedeo, a comedy duo who star in the Italian television program Reservoir Dogs, showed Vladimir Luxuria, who was detained by Sochi police yesterday for carrying a "Gay is OK" banner, after her release, with the caption, "everything is ok... good night #freeluxuria".


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged