Italian transvestite ex-MP triumphs as reality TV star
The first transvestite elected to the Italian parliament, Vladimir Luxuria, garnered the most votes on most "Celebrity Island".
25 November 2008
ROME - The first transvestite elected to the Italian parliament, Vladimir Luxuria, garnered the votes of most TV viewers Monday night as the winner of the reality TV show "Celebrity Island".
The 43-year-old served in parliament for two years as a member of the Refoundation Communist Party before losing his bid for re-election in April.
Over the past six weeks Luxuria, whose real name is Wladimiro Guadagno, has been a star on reality TV, trying to survive living on the beaches of Honduras with other celebrity "survivors". In the end viewers picked Luxuria as their favourite.
"I admired his capacity to defy the prejudices of his companions," said Giorgio Gori, the show's producer.
Gori added that in the beginning his communist party members and voters "no doubt did not appreciate seeing their former deputy in a bikini, but the public rewarded his choice."
Luxuria plans to give half of the 100,000 euros (128,000 dollars) prize money to the UN children's agency UNICEF.
Born a man who dresses as a woman, Luxuria, also an actor, has become an icon of the Italian gay movement and easily won his seat in parliament in 2006 representing a district in Rome.