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29 Apr 2013

First openly gay prime minister in the world retires from politics

Johanna Sigurdardottir, the prime minister of Iceland and the first openly gay leader of government in the world, has stepped down last week prior to the elections on Saturday.

Johanna Sigurdardottir, the prime minister of Iceland, has announced her retirement from politics last Friday.

The 70-year-old became Iceland's first female Prime Minister and the world's first openly lesbian head of government on 1 February 2009. She is the country's longest-serving member of Parliament since becoming an MP in 1978. She was also the Minister of Social Affairs and Social Security from 1987–1994 and 2007–2009.

In September 2012, Johanna announced she would not seek re-election and would instead retire from politics.

Following the elections on Saturday, her Social Democratic Alliance and the Left Green Movement, which won an emergency election in 2009, were defeated by the rightwing Independence Party and the centrist-agrarian Progressive Party.

The photo shows Johanna Sigurdardottir (red jacket) and her wife 
Jonina Leosdottir who was not captioned by Xinhua,
China's state news agency.

Sigurdardottir's official visit in China with her wife Jonina Leosdottir earlier this month was highly anticipated by media observers watching to see how China's  state media would handle the coverage of the couple's visit. In recent years, an increasing number of same-sex couples in China have publicised their wedding ceremonies although it is not officially recognised.

The PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) association in China, who is campaigning for the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, invited the couple to a meeting via a published letter last month. It is not known if the couple accepted.

During her administration, Iceland became the ninth country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2010 after a marriage equality bill was passed with no political resistance. Sigurdardottir and her wife, who have been civil partners since 2002, married when the law came into force.

The only openly gay head of government is Belgium's Elio Di Rupo, who became the world's first openly gay male government leader when he was sworn in 2011.

Reader's Comments

1. 2013-04-30 07:54  
Extraordinary and inspiring. Brava Johanna! Bravo Elio!
2. 2013-05-01 17:56  
3. 2013-05-02 19:13  
who next that we will support for election?
4. 2013-05-06 01:32  
When I was coming out as a lesbian, some twenty years ago, I felt alone and desperately seeking a herstory of lesbians who had gone before me.
"Desert of the Heart," was the first movie that valued and celebrated women loving women. Then, Ellen came out and presented a first class portrait of a happy, loving and intelligent woman. Her marriage to Portia made them both world class ambassadors for lesbians.

Johanna is part of our herstory...little by little, women in power are coming out. I am celebrating women such as Johanna and others on my site:
stories4hotbloodedlesbians.com. As well as blogging lesbian stories, I celebrate lesbians world wide for their talents and contributions. On the other hand, I cry with lesbians who are victims of "corrective rape," and my lesbian sisters who live in silence, fear, and isolation. I welcome everyone to my site. Be strong, be brave and know that you are unique and beautiful
5. 2013-06-02 11:22  
From Canada to Iceland, I'm sending love and congratulations to Johanna Sigurdardottir and her wife Jonina Leosdottir on retirement from my site stories4hotbloodedlesbians.com

I was so proud to blog Johanna and Jonina and their visit to China.
LGBT Chinese can be inspired by both of you.

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