The Italian Almanac

Vladimir Luxuria

Italian News - February 24

Vladimir Luxuria says she shares something with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi: they both dab on lots of make-up and wear heels to make them look taller. The similarities end there.

Luxuria is Italy’s first drag queen to run for parliament. She is campaigning for the rights of homosexuals to marry and for legalizing prostitution and some drugs as part of Romano Prodi’s Union coalition, which is trying to unseat Berlusconi in April 9 elections. “It will be a tough, uphill struggle, but I am not caving in,” Luxuria said.

Luxuria was born as Vladimiro Guadagno, and describes herself as neither woman nor man, just someone in search of a husband. She moved to Rome to pursue a career as a night-club singer and actress, and organised Italy’s first gay pride march in 1994.

Put forward by the Refounded Communists, the third-largest of the nine parties in Prodi’s coalition, Luxuria stands a good chance of getting elected as she is second on the list of candidates after party leader Fausto Bertinotti for the Lazio region, which includes Rome.