Iceland Elects World's First Openly Gay Leader
trentreviso last edited by
Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir has been elected prime minister of Iceland. The 66 yr. old Social Democrat will lead a coalition with the Green Party. Sigurdardóttir's election represents a shift to the left for Iceland, in what is seen as punishment by Icelandic voters for years of conservative leadership which wrecked the nation financially (sound familiar, Americans?).
Sigurdardóttir, a former flight attendant, is openly gay. She began her political career after she became a union organizer for the flight attendants of Loftleidir Airlines (now Icelandair) in the 1960s and 1970s. That experience led her to election to Iceland's parliament in 1978. She has been continuously re-elected to parliament since 1978, without break. She served as social affairs minister from 1987-1994 and again from 2007.
Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir is the first openly gay leader of any nation on Earth (in the "modern era," that is). She married Þorvaldur Steinar Jóhannesson in 1970 and the couple had two sons (born 1972 and 1977). After her divorce from Þorvaldur, Jóhanna joined Jónína Leósdóttir, an author and playwright, as her life partner. The couple were joined in a civil union in 2002.
It is thought that Sigurdardóttir may pursue entry for Iceland into the European Union. Her immediate task will be stabilization of the nation's economy, which was abruptly wrecked in 2008, when all three of the nation's largest banks simultaneously effectively collapsed overnight. So great are the problems facing Sigurdardóttir that it is questionable whether she will be able to maintain a viable coalition within Iceland's parliament through May, when new elections will occur. For now, however, Sigurdardóttir is distinguished as the world's first and only openly-gay leader.
I figure there have been lots of openly Gay Leaders, the catch here is that this one is the NATION'S leader (or whatever Iceland considers themselves)