Those watching the Olympic Games on television sets across the world are sure to see majestic mountains, bedazzled twirlers, and dedicated athletes going for the gold. However, what has garnered some particular attention during Sochi’s winter games are what those watching at home cannot see – or are not permitted to see. And in many cases, the distance is not to blame. Controversial issues, especially where sexuality is concerned, seem to continuously spark conflict in Sochi.

Italian trans activist and former Parliament member Vladimir Luxuria was recently detained for donning a rainbow flag that read “It is OK to be gay!” in Russian. Luxuria recounted the harrowing experience on the Michelangelo Signorile Show.

“I had a rainbow flag on my shoulder with this Russian writing, ‘It is OK to be gay’ in Russian, and two people stopped me,” Luxuria stated. “They were very angry. They took it away from me…They said, ‘This time we will let you out. Next time will be more severe.'”

Unfortunately, the threat of the second time was not an empty one. Luxuria was removed from Sochi’s Olympic Park for donning a rainbow ensemble and headdress. This time, he and a few other men were driven to and dropped off in “the middle of no where.”

“Ya, [they took us] away from town in the countryside ’til dark,” Luxuria explained. “I’m not ashamed to say that I cried because I was very nervous.”

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