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Today’s GLBT History Month Icon: Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir

Today’s GLBT History Month Icon: Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir

Today’s GLBT History Month icon is Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. Born October 4, 1942, Sigurðardóttir is the first female prime minister of Iceland, the modern world’s first openly lesbian national leader and the first national leader to enter into a same-sex marriage.

From Equality Forum:

Sigurðardóttir was born in Reykjavik, where she received the equivalent of a high school diploma from the Commercial College of Iceland. Her first job was as a flight attendant for what is now Icelandair. After six years in that position, she became a union organizer with the airline—a move that served as her entree into Icelandic politics.

Sigurðardóttir was elected to Iceland’s Parliament in 1978. Viewed as a rising star, she was named minister of social affairs in 1987. In 1990, she ran for the top spot in her party, the Social Democrat Alliance. She narrowly lost that race, declaring, “My time will come,” which has become a common catchphrase in Iceland.

In January of 2009, following the collapse of the nation’s economy in the worldwide recession, Iceland’s president asked the Social Democrat Alliance to form a new government, which elevated Sigurðardóttir to the office of the prime minister. At the time of her appointment, she was the longest-serving member of Iceland’s Parliament.

Four months later, Sigurðardóttir’s party, along with its coalition partner, won a majority of seats in the Parliament, handing her a strong mandate to lead Iceland’s economic revitalization efforts and to work toward joining the European Union. While focusing on these important tasks, Sigurðardóttir has not forgotten the value of equity in politics. “A society that does not use the intellectual power of its female population fully is not a wise society,” she says.

Sigurðardóttir was married to a man prior to coming out. She and her ex-husband are the parents of two adult children. On June 11, 2010, by a vote of 49 to 0, Iceland’s Parliament approved same-sex marriage. On June 26, 2010, the first day that legislation became effective, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and Jónína Leósdóttir were married. 


  • Buschschluter, Vanessa. “Iceland’s PM marks gay milestone.” BBC News. 1 February 2009.
  • Erlingsdottir, Iris. “Icelandic Minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir, Would Be World’s First Gay PM.” The Huffington Post. 27 January 2009.
  • Gunnarsson, Valur. “Iceland to elect world’s first openly gay PM.” The Guardian. 30 January 2009.
  • McDonald, Alyssa. “Johanna Sigurðardottir.” New Statesman. 15 January 2010.
  • Moody, Jonas. “Iceland Picks the World’s First Openly Gay PM.” Time. 30 January 2009.
  • Popham, Peter. “World gets its first gay leader.” The Independent. 29 January 2009.

Articles about Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir:

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8:40AM PST on Feb 9, 2011

A 49-0 vote must be unpresedented! Hooray for Iceland!

(And to all inclusive people here on Care2, let's all ignore the one with the initials JRS!)

7:56AM PDT on Oct 31, 2010

Thanks for naming and discribing her.

3:59PM PDT on Oct 28, 2010

Thank you, remarkable woman.

3:29PM PDT on Oct 28, 2010

Great piece! P.S. Gregory A., what the hell were you going on about?

2:35PM PDT on Oct 28, 2010

Everyone who wanted progress MUST go out and vote against the G NO P! The Republicans are accepting $75 million from unknown sources who refuse to reveal themselves. Call it legalized(by the 5 conservative members of the Supreme Court) bribery. But it is clear that the Republican agenda is simply to gain power at the expense of the middle class. It was Bush and deregulation of the Banks, mortgage companies, and Wall Street that caused this economic mess. Not even Iron Man could repair it with a snap of the fingers. The Party of NO has sabotaged efforts to improve it just to keep things bad so they could manipulate anger into power. You MUST defeat this cynical, money accepting party from giving back to their corporate sponsors their soul for $$$$ (75 million worth). DO NOT SIT THIS ONE OUT. If you do, EVIL and GREED and EXTREMISTS will prevail! VOTE! Damn it, YOU MUST VOTE!


12:14PM PDT on Oct 28, 2010

Just another example of why Iceland is the place to be. It's called PROGRESS.

12:13PM PDT on Oct 28, 2010

Just another example of why Iceland is the place to be. It's called PROGRESS.

10:50AM PDT on Oct 28, 2010

Only three more days left of October - and thousands more LGBT individuals worthy of inclusion in this series! Could I put in a request for at least a list of names (and their works) of all the ones who don't make it into an article??? PLEEEEEEESE?!?!?

10:19AM PDT on Oct 28, 2010

Hooray for Iceland!!

10:13AM PDT on Oct 28, 2010

Reply to James R Stewart - Now you know how it feels to us Gays every time we read mainstream media, read books, watch TV, go to movies, see y'all out in publik smooching and holding hands. GET OVER IT LIKE WE HAVE !!!!

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