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Luxuria takes up transsex rights
Transgender MP calls for Gender Recognition Act
(ANSA) - Rome, November 7 - Europe's first transgender MP vowed on Tuesday to fight for a law giving Italian transsexuals the right to legally change their recorded gender .
Vladimir Luxuria, an MP with Premier Romano Prodi's centre-left governing coalition, said in a magazine interview that she would lobby for legislation along the lines of Britain's Gender Recognition Act .
"If a Mario decides to become a Maria, then he should be free to do so and every reference to his original gender must automatically disappear from his documents," the 41-year-old former drag queen told women's weekly Grazia .
The Gender Recognition Act, passed by Britain in 2004, gives legal recognition to transsexuals, allowing them to change the gender on their birth certificates and marry and claim pensions in their acquired sex .
It does not require applicants to have undergone sex-change surgery .
Luxuria, who has not had a sex-change operation, said this last point was particularly important .
"Changing one's sex from male to female or vice versa must be allowed independently of whether one has had an operation or not," the leftist lawmaker said .
Luxuria, who was born Wladimiro Guadagno, considers herself neither male nor female but prefers to be referred to as 'she' .
"I've never hated my body. I've never had female hormone therapy to become more feminine and I've never thought about having an operation," Luxuria told Grazia .
"Being transgender isn't about sex. It's about a way of living and relating to the world without identifying with one sex or the other," added the MP, who was elected to parliament in April with the Communist Refoundation Party .
Last month Luxuria made front-page headlines after clashing with a female MP in a toilet row .
The storm erupted when Elisabetta Gardini, the spokeswoman for ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party, challenged Luxuria's right to use the House's female toilets. Gardini, a former showgirl, said she felt "raped" after encountering Luxuria in the restrooms and brought the issue up with House whips .
Luxuria told Grazia that "I'd been using the female loos for six months and nobody protested... They're cleaner than the male ones and I think there would be more problems if I used the men's". Luxuria's election was seen as a breakthrough for gay rights' campaigners .
Known for her intelligence and wit, supporters look to Luxuria to help overcome alleged lingering prejudice against homosexuals in traditionally Catholic Italy and boost their battle for the rights of same-sex couples .
Luxuria, whose party is the third-largest in Prodi's governing coalition, has promised to campaign for the legal recognition of such unions .
The MP has stopped short of fighting for recognition of gay marriages, saying that "Italy isn't ready for that yet" .
Prodi pledged in his election manifesto to give cohabiting couples, including same-sex ones, administrative and financial rights but must overcome opposition from centrist, Catholic allies .
Equal Opportunities Minister Barbara Pollastrini said on Tuesday that she would take up action on the issue. "We want a wise, balanced and widely accepted solution," she said .