An Italian opposition MP and former showgirl has expressed outrage after meeting a transgender colleague in the parliament’s ladies’ toilets.

Elisabetta Gardini, spokeswoman for former PM Silvio Berlusconi’s party, said she felt ill after the encounter during a break in Friday’s session.

The incident led to heated debate about which toilet the transgender MP, known as Vladimir Luxuria, could use.

Ms Luxuria says she has been using ladies’ toilets for years.

Using the men’s would have created even bigger problems, she said.

The matter has now been passed to parliamentary procedural officials to resolve.

Ms Gardini said she had been horrified to find Ms Luxuria in the toilets.

“It never entered my mind that I’d find him in there”, she said. “It felt like sexual violence – I really felt ill.”

Centre-right MPs backed her call for the creation of a third “transgender” toilet, Reuters news agency said.

But ruling coalition deputies accused Ms Gardini of discrimination tantamount to racism.

Ms Luxuria said she had not expected such aggression in the parliament.

Born Wladimiro Guadagno, Ms Luxuria wears women’s clothes but has not had sex-change surgery.

A 40-year-old former drag queen and prominent gay rights activist, she was elected MP for the Communist Refoundation, a member of Prime Minister Romano Prodi’s centre-left coalition, in April.

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