A Brief History
On February 1, 2009, a milestone in LGBT rights occurred when the Icelandic Althing (their version of a Parliament) elected Johanna Siguroardottir Prime Minister, age 66, an openly lesbian woman, the first head of government in the world to be openly LGBT.
The ascension of Johanna in 2009 placed her in the Forbes List of 100 Most Powerful Women in the world. Serving only one term as Prime Minister, Johanna retired from politics in 2012.
After graduating from college, Johanna worked as a flight attendant and office worker, then became active in labor union work, holding positions in the Cabin Crew Association and Former Stewardess Association, and later the Commercial Workers Union. In 1978 Johanna was first elected to the Althing as a member of the Social Democrat Party. Service as Vice-Chairman of the Party and as Minister of Social Affairs for 4 Icelandic cabinets followed. In 1994 she left the Social Democrat Party to help form a new party, the National Awakening. In 2000 the 2 parties merged, and Johanna was once again a Social Democrat.
Iceland experienced a financial crisis in 2008, and by 2009 the ruling government had to resign due to increased unrest and protests. The Social Democrats teamed up with the Left Green Movement and the Progressive Party to support Johanna and take over the reins of power. Her administration was largely consumed by dealing with the financial problems of Iceland and changing the Constitution to allow more involvement by the people.
Another topic addressed by Johanna and her allies was that of strip clubs and nudity in restaurants and the like, a practice that was outlawed as a matter of human dignity and equality for women. This law was the first such European ban on nudity for money.
Johanna is married to Jonina Leosdottir since 2010, making Jonina the first LGBT spouse of a national leader in the world. Johanna had previously been married from 1970 to 1987, a union that ended in divorce. That union produced 2 sons, and her current marriage added a step son.
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For more information, please see The New Statesman.