Trans ex-MP triumphs as Italy’s newest reality TV star
It seems it is not just in Britain that politicians appear on reality TV.
While Brian Paddick, former Lib Dem contender for Mayor of London, is baring all in the Australian jungle courtesy of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, another LGBT political figure has just won public adulation with a turn on another show.
The first transgender person elected to the Italian parliament, Vladimir Luxuria, received the most votes from viewers of the reality TV hit Celebrity Island.
For the past six weeks, Luxuria lived with other celebrities on the beaches of Honduras, battling it out to win the votes of viewers and walk away with 100,000 euros (£84, 800) in prize money.
The 43-year-old served in the Italian parliament for two years as a member of the Communist Refoundation Party before losing her most recent election bid in April 2008.
She was the first openly transgender member of Parliament in Europe, and the world’s second openly transgender MP after New Zealander Georgina Beyer.
Luxuria plans to give half of the prize money to the UN children’s agency UNICEF.
Luxuria, whose original name was Wladimiro Guadagno, is also an actor and has become an icon of the Italian gay movement.
She helped organise Italy’s first gay pride festival in 1994 and continued her activism throughout her tenure as MP taking part in the first, banned, Moscow gay Pride parade in 2006.
She won her seat in parliament by a comfortable margin, representing a district in Rome.
Although Luxuria lives exclusively as a female, she has yet to undergo gender reassignment surgery and remains physically and legally male.
She has stated on occasion that she perceives herself as neither male nor female.
Mr Paddick, openly gay and definitely male, as viewers of I’m A Celebrity can testify, will be hoping for similar reality TV success.