Saturday, October 28, 2006

Only in Italy: The transgendered tale of Vladimir Luxuria

By Michael J.W. Stickings

(Or maybe in Thailand.)

I'm fully supportive of the rights of transgendered individuals, but I can't help but find this incident from the zany world of Italian politics amusing:

An Italian opposition MP and former showgirl has expressed outrage after meeting a transgender colleague in the parliament's ladies' toilets...

The incident led to heated debate about which toilet the transgender MP, known as Vladimir Luxuria, could use.

Ms Luxuria says she has been using ladies' toilets for years.

Using the men's would have created even bigger problems, she said.

The matter has now been passed to parliamentary procedural officials to resolve.

I suppose I'm with Luxuria on this (what else is she to do?). The opposition MP and "former showgirl" (a member of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's party), Elisabetta Gardini, referred to Luxuria as "him" and said that encountering her in the washroom was "like sexual violence".

Which is both insensitive and stupid.

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Vladimir Luxuria is, needless to say, a controversial figure in Italian politics (and that's saying something). A Communist from Rome and a member of Prime Minister Romano Prodi's governing coalition, l'Unione, she is Europe's first transgendered MP and the world's second (after New Zealand's Georgina Beyer).

And the right hates her -- "better to be a fascist than a faggot," said Fascist Alessandra Mussolini (whom I once wrote about here) -- which is a good reason to like her.

Her website is here (in Italian).

For more on her feud with Mussolini, see here (also in Italian -- but really worth watching even if you can't understand what they're shouting at each other -- imagine a transgendered Congressman and a Fascist Congressman shouting at each other on, say, Meet the Press -- if only American politics were that much fun -- oh, Mussolini's the outraged blonde).

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