Alex Blaze

Iceland to name first lesbian head of government

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 28, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: bank robbers, financial crisis, iceland, johanna sigurdardottir, lesbian, prime minister, union worker

The johanna sigurdardottir.jpgUS became the first majority-white country last week to elect a non-white head of state, and this week Iceland looks like it will become the first country to have an openly-queer head of government. Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, a Social Democrat and the current Minister of Social Affairs who's also openly lesbian, is likely to be announced as the new prime minister as the former Icelandic prime minister leaves office due to esophageal cancer.

Besides being the first lesbian prime minister in the world, she's also the first female prime minister in Iceland.

Jóhanna's rise in politics in and of itself is pretty amazing. She graduated from a vocational high school and went to work as a flight attendant, rising up through trade union ranks to preside over the boards of both the Icelandic Cabin Crew Association and the Association of Former Stewardesses by 1975. She was elected to Parliament in 1978 and was first appointed Minister of Social Affairs in 1987.

While I'm sure a lot of people will be pointing out how different Iceland is for having an openly lesbian Prime Minister, it's also important to note that her primary pre-political experience was in labor. It's hard to imagine an American politician rising to such a level on that experience, especially after conservatives mocked Obama's experiences as a Constitutional law scholar and community organizer as incommensurate with high office.

Jóhanna enjoys a sky-high approval rating at 73% according to a December, 2008, Capacent Gallup Poll. Which will be useful, because she's taking on the biggest financial crisis, for the size of the country in which it took place, in the world's history.

Iceland apparently was bitten by the deregulation bug this past decade, and it resulted in banks taking on more debt than they could handle - an amount equivalent to about $200,000 per person. The banks collapsed this past year as loans became harder to hide and investors wanted returns, and, with that, the country's three banks were nationalized. Its currency is in free-fall and people are panicking.

It's a daunting task, and Icelanders will have a lesbian union worker to take it on. This really is a year for change.


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Not only is she a lesbian; she's a lesbian mom. (Yeah, I had to mention that.)

The former PM is leaving not for healh reasons but for his failed policies and the total colapse of the Icelandic currency and economy.The people have been protesting for some time now and he finaly agreed to new elections and not to run again. She will have a very tough job ahead of her may she be up to the task of rebuilding the nations economy.

You're probably right, but the tumor in his esophagus is the official reason....

As long as you remember that with a (modified) parliamentary system you're not voting for an individual but rather for the party list, it is worth noting. Perhaps it requires a long explanation of what takes precedence, but I'll leave it at this: When you land at Keflavik the announcement in Icelandic is "Welcome home", not Welcome to Iceland.

I wish her all the best. A Lesbian Head of State in Iceland; Rush must have gone nuts with that

I suggest going to the BBC for more reading about the Icelandic collapse over the last several months.The former PM even had his car egged and garbage tossed at it while he was in it.This is as bout as violet as Iceland gets.So once again I wish her good luck and may she dig Iceland out of this mess or she will be noted for being a short lived care taker PM as elections are in March.Its also interesting to note the fact she is lesbain isnt getting much press at least on the BBC.Which I listen to for my non US news outlet.