The Italian Almanac

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Vladimir Luxuria

Italian News - October 30

When does a man not deserve to be treated as a woman? This question will weigh heavily on Italian politics on Monday morning as the speaker of the lower house of the Rome Parliament prepares to rule on the sanitary arrangements for its most singular member.

Wladimiro Guadagno, who prefers to go by his former stage name of Vladimir Luxuria, describes himself as "trans-gender" and, while never having had a sex change operation, he dresses and behaves entirely as a woman. Since being elected to Parliament in April, the actor-singer-turned-politician has been using the ladies' loos.

But last Friday, the sight of Guadagno adjusting his skirt and preparing to freshen his lipstick proved too much for one of Silvio Berlusconi's supporters. Elisabetta Gardini said afterwards she felt as if she had been the victim of a "sex attack". Gardini, herself an ex-actress, made a formal complaint to the Chamber of Deputies' house affairs committee. Peacemakers suggested that a third loo might be created for Guadagno and his assistant, who is of a similar sexual orientation.

But the spokesperson for a Christian Democrat party that supports the centre-left government was adamant that "there are only two genders -- male and female". After a heated session the house affairs committee adroitly dodged the issue by saying that an MP's choice of loo was a personal one. The question has been taken up by the speaker's office who have promised a decision early this week.