Mrs. Johanna Sigurdardottir is the world’s first openly gay prime minister leading a newly formed government after a conservative-led government for 2 years recently failed. Mrs, Sigurðardóttir, a former flight attendant and union organizer, has a successful carrier in politics for over 30 years.
She has been member of Althingi (the Parliament) for the Reykjavík constituency since 1978. She was the minister of social affairs 1987-1994 and again since May 2007. Jóhanna is respected by fellow parliamentarians and popular among the general public. In a recent survey she came first when people were asked about which politician they trust the most.
The appointment of Mrs. Sigurðardóttir as the Iceland’s prime minister not only sends a clear message to world. It captures the dramatic changes in Icelandic society over the last 30 years, legislative changes as well as social changes. The same year Mrs. Sigurðardóttir became member of member of Althingi in 1978, Samtökin ’78, the National Organization of Lesbian and Gay men, was formed. The first milestone victory on the legal front came in 1996 with the passing of laws on confirmed cohabitation, but even so, gays and lesbians were still barred from adopting or seeking assisted pregnancies in Iceland's free public hospitals. On June 27th 2006 yet another important step was taken with a legislation granting same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples without any limitations.
In only thirty years attitudes towards gays and lesbians have been totally transformed in Iceland. The appointment of an openly gay prime minister captures those changes and sets an example for the rest of the world.