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Looking Out: Trans activist says she was arrested in Sochi

Vladimir Luxuria, Europe's first openly transgender parliamentarian, was reportedly detained twice in Sochi this week for supporting LGBT rights at the Winter Olympics.

Luxuria, a former Communist member of parliament in Italy, was stopped by four men after donning rainbow-colored garb and yelling "It's OK to be gay" outside the Olympic hockey stadium, according to the Associated Press

The men reportedly escorted her to a car, stripped her of her Olympics pass and dropped her off in the Russian countryside.

Luxuria also told The Independent she was arrested by Russian police Sunday for holding up a banner with the phrase "Gay is OK" written on it in Russian. Olympic organizers and police said they had no record of that arrest.

Protests in Sochi have been banned by Russian authorities during the Olympics, outside of those staged in a designated zone located about 10 miles away from Sochi's Olympic Park. But few major demonstrations appear to have been held there thus far.

On to other news:

  • Ugandan officials have dismissed President's Barack Obama's rebuke of an anti-gay bill that would criminalize "the promotion or recognition" of homosexuality, according to Reuters. Obama released a statement Sunday calling the law "a step backward for all Ugandans" and said enacting anti-gay legislation would complicate U.S. relations with Uganda. 

  • Bills that would have permitted anti-LGBT discrimination based on religious beliefs failed in four states this week, BuzzFeed reports. Of particular note is the stymied bill in Kansas, which would have allowed government employees to refuse services to LGBT people if providing services violated employees' religious beliefs.

  • Nine same-sex couples are suing Colorado over the state's same-sex marriage ban in the hopes of overturning it.

  • Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (who penned an amazing novel called "Americanah" and was recently sampled for a Beyonce song) blasted Nigeria's "Jail All The Gays Bill" in an op-ed published Wednesday.

    My favorite line: "A crime has victims. A crime harms society. On what basis is homosexuality a crime?"

  • Add two more NFL stars to the chorus of players who say lineman Michael Sam's coming out is no big deal. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick (you might remember him from the Ravens' Super Bowl win) and Panthers QB Cam Newton both said Sam is welcome in their locker rooms so long as he can help their teams win.

  • Advice guru Dear Abby read the riot act to a Florida couple unhappy about their gay neighbors, suggesting the pair might prefer "a less integrated neighborhood surrounded by people who think the way you do." Ouch.

Any other LGBT news getting your attention this week?

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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