Italy's first trans former MP and Pussy Riot members among those arrested in Russia

Vladimir Luxuria, Europe's first openly transgender parliamentarian and former Italian MP, was detained in Sochi, Russia over the weekend under the country's anti-LGBT, so-called "propaganda law." The following day, she was detained for a second time, and left by authorities in a rural area.

On Sunday, Vladimir held a rainbow-clad signed while attending the Olympics that read, in Russian, "Gay is OK." Though she was arrested by plain clothes cops, she was seemingly released several hours later with no charges. Russia's police deny that Vladimir was ever detained.

The following day, Vladimir dressed in rainbow colors, including a headdress, and shouted "it's okay to be gay" while at the Olympic Park's hockey arena in Sochi. She was picked up by four plainclothes men, driven into a rural area, and left there. Reportedly, her travel companions and Italian comedy duo Pio and Amedeo were also picked up by authorities and dumped in a rural area. The three left the country this morning.

Of her second arrest, Vladimir said, "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. But they just left me outside, in the country, there, outside and that's it."

These arrests have caught the attention of international and mainstream outlets, including the Washington Post, The Guardian, USA Today, and New York Magazine,

USA Today reported on the International Olympic Committee (IOC)'s response: "International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said the organization does not tolerate demonstrations within the venues 'whether we are sympathetic or not…I understand she was in the park [on Monday] for a good hour, maybe two hours walking around talking to spectators and people,' Adams said. 'Some people were pro, some people were against, some people were very against, but I know her stated aim was to demonstrate in the venue."

Despite Adams' claims that Vladimir was not bothered by the arrests, The Guardian reported that, when she was arrested on Sunday, she reached out to leaders of LGBT organizations in Rome. One text she sent read, "Help me I am detained. I am alone."

Russian authorities have been more focused on arresting and punishing local advocates than foreigners, noted the Washington Post. Recently, two members of the outspoken Moscow-based band Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were arrested under the guise of theft charges. According to CNN,

"They were put to the floor and beaten and physical force was used to them when they refused to be questioned without the presence of their lawyer, who was on his way to the police department," Verzilov [Tolokonnikova's husband] told reporters.

"Unbelievable lawlessness, even we are amazed," tweeted Tolokonnikova. "Beat on the floor of the department, in the Olympic capital!"

Invoking the name of Russian President Vladimir Putin, she added, "They dragged me on the floor in the hall of the department, hands tied behind back and thrown to the floor. Putin will teach you to love the motherland!"

Band members had been previously arrested for speaking out against Putin and advocating for social justice, such as gender-based issues and prison reform.

To learn more about what's happening in Russia, visit glaad.org/Russia.

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As a Major League Baseball umpire for the past 29 seasons, Dale Scott has worked three World Series, three All-Star Games, two no-hitters and numerous playoff games. He is also the first out active male official in the MLB, NBA, NHL, or NFL, and the first Major League Baseball umpire to publicly say he is gay while active.