Iceland | Johanna Sigurdardottir | News

Lesbian Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir Takes Helm in Iceland


Last Tuesday I mentioned that it looked likely Johanna Sigurdardottir was set to become the world's first openly gay prime minister. That has now taken place.

SigurdardottirThe NYT: "She began her political career as a union organizer with the national airline, now known as Icelandair, where she had worked more than 30 years ago as a flight attendant. She has two sons with her former husband, a banker, and six grandchildren. Ms. Sigurdardottir established a civil partnership in 2002 with Jonina Leosdottir, 54, an author, playwright and journalist. She, too, is a divorced mother. Although Ms. Sigurdardottir’s rise has drawn widespread attention on Web sites for gay men and lesbians outside Iceland, her relationship is considered unremarkable at home. In 1940, while still a dependency of Denmark, Iceland decriminalized gay sex. It approved civil partnerships for gay and lesbian couples in 1996, one of the first countries to do so. 'Iceland is a small society, and the public knows what Sigurdardottir stands for as a politician, and that’s the only thing that is important,' said Frosti Jonsson, a spokesman for Iceland’s National Association of Queers. 'Nowadays, not only does Iceland have one of the most progressive legal environments for gay people, there have also been changes in public attitudes towards gay people. It simply isn’t an issue anymore.'"

What is significant is the recent economic collapse of Iceland, which lead to the resignation of Independence Party Prime Minister Geir Haarde, setting events in motion to place Sigurdardottir in power.

A report on Sigurdardottir's transition, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. i find it weird that minorities are put in position to fix a disater, whether it is Obama put to fix bush's destruction or this woman to fix iceland's meltdown. WEIRD

    Posted by: johnosahon | Feb 2, 2009 11:16:16 AM

  2. How wonderful. Especially that in Iceland her sexuality is not an issue whatsoever. The world could learn a lesson, actually a lot of lessons, from Iceland.

    Posted by: Rhea | Feb 2, 2009 11:22:21 AM

  3. Actually, Johnosahon, well before Obama or Sigurdardottir's rise to power, it was often said that this is EXACTLY when women, blacks, and anyone other than affluent white men get into power.

    Posted by: Rhea | Feb 2, 2009 11:24:32 AM

  4. She looks very chic.

    Posted by: Andy | Feb 2, 2009 11:27:57 AM

  5. Interesting observation, JOHNOSAHON. I always said that the only way that America would elect a black man for president was if we're in the midst of foreign policy and domestic disasters. And here we are.

    One day America will elect an openly gay president also...right after a tsunami wipes out Texas & the entire Gulf Coast, and earthquakes take away the Rocky Mountain land of the Mormons--then they'll look to a gay woman to save our country...or maybe that beautiful CEO of Chicago Schools.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 2, 2009 11:29:55 AM

  6. "...the public knows what Sigurdardottir stands for as a politician, and that’s the only thing that is important,"

    Surprisingly enlightened, in my opinion. Why are the societies that have VERY strong religious undertones the ones that have the most violence against minorities (religious, ethnic, sexual orientation), children, & women, and have the largest number of killings, highest crime rates, lowest education scores, etc.? Does anyone besides me notice that trend? And that applies to virtually all organized religions.

    Posted by: NoCalDrummer | Feb 2, 2009 12:01:48 PM

  7. What's interesting about this piece -- besides the fact that it quotes a man named Frosti Jonsson (how do you put that in a Manhunt ad???) -- is that it comes from a LGBT rights group lauding the positive changes in the national government and the larger culture. That would never happen in the US. We're too old unreconstructed lefty reactionary. Iceland's queers seem to know how to acquire and hold power. Might be nice to do that someday -- rather than just the tired old speak truth to power rhetorical stance.

    Posted by: Mark from NYC | Feb 2, 2009 12:02:22 PM

  8. A flight attendant? Hopefully she went back to school after that.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 2, 2009 1:39:21 PM

  9. I love that the new Prime Minister arrives at work in a Honda and walks in by herself, as opposed to a screaming motorcade of 15 SUVs and half the DCPD.

    Posted by: sam | Feb 2, 2009 2:05:27 PM

  10. I was reminded that one does not refer to Icelanders by their "last names", but rather just by their first name, for the "last name" isn't our kind of last name, but simply means "Daughter of Sigurdar". Being that there are any number of those in Iceland, you would only use "Sigurdarsdottir" in extremely formal occasions. It really is like Lord of the Rings. So, just Johanna.

    Posted by: clint | Feb 2, 2009 4:14:24 PM

  11. She sets a good example for us LGBT. We needn't refuse to say being gay or lesbian. We need to face the real of us. "I can say i am a bisexual proudly and loudly to others" often said by my bisexual friends knew at ***. Happinesass is not only belongs to you straight people but also to us LGBT. So do it proudly.

    Posted by: Brandyqing8 | Feb 3, 2009 3:01:26 AM

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