By Leslie Robinson
Vladimir Luxuria was elected to the Italian parliament only a month ago, and already sheÕs experiencing the close link between politics and sewage.
With her election, Luxuria became the first transgender member of a European parliament. According to Reuters, she doesnÕt think of herself as male or female, but prefers to be called ÒsheÓ and dresses as a woman. She ran for office in Rome under the Communist banner, and sheÕs part of a center-left coalition that squeaked into power, replacing a center-right coalition.
And that, dear readers, brings us to the tussle over the toilet.
Whether theyÕre aiming to stigmatize the “freak” or theyÕre pissy over their loss, or both, rightwing lawmakers are demanding Luxuria not be allowed to use the womenÕs washrooms in the Italian parliament.
Apparently they want to make a statement that Luxuria is a man, damn it, and so should use the menÕs facilities. Wait a minute. That would have the he-men washing their hands next to a she-man applying eye shadow. The horror! We can face war, but we canÕt cope with a man in pumps.
One genius suggested a third lavatory be built, just for transgender politicians. All one of them. A transgender toilet would mean neither men nor women would have to deal with their space being invaded by that Òit.Ó And ÒitÓ would be properly degraded. At taxpayer expense.
Luxuria hasnÕt risen to the bait. ÒThe apartheid of urinary segregation is not an issue that moves me particularly,Ó she said. ÒI donÕt want the privilege of having a toilet all to myself.Ó
Spoken like a true trans-woman of the people.
ÒI didnÕt expect politics to sink this low,Ó she noted.
ItÕs probably best that she has awakened and smelled the cappuccino. She has tough issues to battle for ahead, including legal recognition of gay relationships.
She couldnÕt have been altogether ignorant that politics can mean having one fine Italian shoe in the sewer. On state television, Luxuria asked Alessandra Mussolini, granddaughter of ItalyÕs infamous fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, whether she wants to lock gays up. Mussolini shot back, ÒBetter a fascist than a faggot.Ó
Even members of her own coalition have lumped Luxuria together with Ilona ÒCicciolinaÓ Staller, a flamboyant porn star and former member of parliament. But Luxuria says she is no political flash in the bedpan. She underscores her seriousness by dressing for work in conservative feminine attire.
ÒParliament is not a theater, itÕs not a discotheque. ItÕs already revolutionary that a transgender gets into parliament. It wouldnÕt be useful to provoke in such a stupid way,Ó she declared.
If anybody knows how to dress to provoke, she does. Before entering politics, Luxuria was a cabaret performer and actress, so she knows her way around wigs and spangles and heels higher than a certain leaning tower.
To be fair, her drag career mustÕve been hard for some Italians to accept, and the disclosure that she had been a sex worker for a time as a young person probably made the Vatican want to call out the Swiss Guard.
But Luxuria was duly elected. Her enemies, by creating the bathroom brouhaha, didnÕt allow her to remain flushed with success for long.
If they expected her to grow hysterical and throw her career down the toilet, theyÕve so far been disappointed. This is a person who in 1994 organized ItalyÕs first Pride festival. The strongest part of such a person is not likely to be her pantyhose.
WeÕll see how long the opposition stays preoccupied with both LuxuriaÕs plumbing and that of the parliament building. Goodness knows, with Italian troops in Iraq, the lawmakers have nothing else pressing.