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Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, world's first lesbian prime minister
February 1, 2009 6:45 PM   Subscribe

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir became today Iceland's, and the world's, first openly lesbian prime minister.
posted by Morrigan (49 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cool. But her sexuality is also not a big deal in Iceland, which is cooler.
posted by jaduncan at 6:52 PM on February 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


YEA!
posted by humannaire at 6:52 PM on February 1, 2009


Go Jóhanna.
posted by sandraregina at 6:56 PM on February 1, 2009




She has some really tough times to pull Iceland through and I wish her luck.
posted by sandraregina at 6:59 PM on February 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Stealing Obama's spotlight. Fucking Icelanders.
posted by gman at 7:04 PM on February 1, 2009


Well, clearly, that's it for Western civilization. Lights out. All over. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

Or, you know, not.

Which would mean ... perhaps it doesn't matter who or what you're doing in the bedroom?

Surely not!
posted by kcds at 7:10 PM on February 1, 2009


Everyone loves their first gay head

...of state.
posted by orthogonality at 7:10 PM on February 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Stealing Obama's spotlight. Fucking Icelanders.

Obama is made of miracles and sunbeams. Don't be shocked when tomorrow night he goes on TV wearing an Eleanor Roosevelt mask and pulls his pants down to reveal an innie.

That 'O' was just a vaginal symbol of opposition against the heteronormative phallocracy all along! Fooled you, middle America! (FIST BUMP)
posted by bunnytricks at 7:11 PM on February 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


wow. She's elegant looking too. YAY Iceland for being open minded. Her political party logo. heh.

So Iceland is no longer frigid?
posted by nickyskye at 7:18 PM on February 1, 2009


Ice Princess
posted by DU at 7:23 PM on February 1, 2009


Here's a YouTube of her being interviewed, in candlelight. Those romantic Icelanders. What a beautiful language.
posted by nickyskye at 7:24 PM on February 1, 2009


She's not also a sports car driving neo-nazi, right? Because that would be so 2008.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:52 PM on February 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


As I mentioned in the last Iceland thread, while it is true that Jóhanna's sexual orientation is not something that matters to most Icelanders, there are those for whom it matters a great deal. There are homophobes in Iceland, like everywhere, who probably don't like it, but there are also those, especially older gays who suffered a lot of discrimination, for whom it means a great deal. But they're not the only ones. I have gay friends and relatives and it matters to me that they live in a society that does not judge them for their sexual orientation.

In the late 90's a friend of mine, who was openly gay, ran for student body president of our secondary school (Icelandic school system is divided into primary, 6-16, and secondary, 16-20). He ran as the sitting treasurer. There were a lot of people who didn't vote for him because of his sexual orientation, saying so openly (I got into quite a few arguments about it). It was very shameful.

It wasn't too long ago that I found myself arguing with Icelanders who said gays were "disgusting." To see that things have come a long enough way in Iceland that the sexual orientation of our Prime Minister isn't a big deal is great, and I care about that a great deal.
posted by Kattullus at 8:14 PM on February 1, 2009 [12 favorites]


Was she elected as prime minister or chosen?
posted by smackfu at 8:43 PM on February 1, 2009


Oh, and Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir isn't head of state but head of government. The President of Iceland is head of state. It's a situation very analogous to Britain or Canada where the Queen is head of state but the prime minister is head of government.
posted by Kattullus at 8:45 PM on February 1, 2009


After the previous coalition collapsed, the president (the actual head of state, also known as a chancellor, lieutenant governor, or monarch in other countries) of the Icelandic parliament invited her to form a government until elections later this year. This is pretty common for parliamentary democracies.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:47 PM on February 1, 2009


smackfu: Was she elected as prime minister or chosen?

Chosen. In Iceland there are no direct elections for prime minister. All governments are coalition governments of more than one party and the parties choose who will be prime minister. Almost always the prime minister is the leader of the largest party in the coalition but in some cases, such as this one where the leader of the larger of the two coalition parties is recuperating from brain surgery, someone else is chosen. That said, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir is genuinely the most popular politician in Iceland and has been for a good while.
posted by Kattullus at 8:50 PM on February 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


The ground shifts underfoot, everywhere. I always thought these things would be gradual, that slowly, the old prejudices would fall away. Now it seems like the entire world is moving incredibly quickly towards something totally new and unknown.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:02 PM on February 1, 2009


the future perhaps?
posted by - at 9:21 PM on February 1, 2009


What I want to see is her interacting with the heads of state of say, Iran, or Saudi Arabia, countries where homosexuality is a capital crime. I just want to see the looks of horror on their faces when they have to shake her hand.
posted by Hactar at 10:01 PM on February 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, basucally, if you're some kind of minority you CAN lead a country, but only if that country is up to it's neck in financial doo-doo.
posted by Artw at 10:04 PM on February 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Here's a YouTube of her being interviewed , in candlelight. Those romantic Icelanders. What a beautiful language.

What amazes me is how well "newscaster diction" travels across languages.
posted by delmoi at 10:09 PM on February 1, 2009


Economy collapsing . . . send in the lesbians!
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:31 PM on February 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


What a beautiful language.

No kidding.
posted by empath at 10:42 PM on February 1, 2009


It's kind of weird that anyone actually cares about that. I mean, hello, collapsed country? Way to focus on the decoration.
posted by jacalata at 10:52 PM on February 1, 2009


I 2002, openly gay Norwegian minister of finance Per-Kristian Foss (Conservatives) briefly acted as prime minister. Norway is not free of homophobes either, but this did not lead to rioting in the streets. It is generally not considered a big deal.
posted by Harald74 at 11:52 PM on February 1, 2009


As an aside, this article on the Icelandic patronymic naming system is very interesting.
posted by chillmost at 12:56 AM on February 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


What a beautiful language.

Yeah, until they start yelling "GERDU SVO VEL!" at you in the Post Office. Then it sort of loses its charm.

But hey! It only took near total apocalypse to get social change in government! It's about freakin' time!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:38 AM on February 2, 2009


What I want to see is her interacting with the heads of state of say, Iran, or Saudi Arabia, countries where homosexuality is a capital crime. I just want to see the looks of horror on their faces when they have to shake her hand.

My understanding is that it would be the Icelandic President, not the PM, who would be shaking hands with other world leaders. Still, that would be pretty sweet.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:40 AM on February 2, 2009


This phrasing is far better than the AP's, which said a couple of days ago that Iceland was getting "the world's first openly gay woman as prime minister"
posted by bonaldi at 5:27 AM on February 2, 2009


Black Man Lesbian Given Nation's Worst Job
posted by fungible at 5:45 AM on February 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Orthography question: for people writing in the 26-letter (Roman) alphabet, should the eth (ð) be replaced with "d" or "th"?
posted by kittyprecious at 6:06 AM on February 2, 2009


I hope she doesn't let poets lie to her.
posted by aerotive at 6:11 AM on February 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Orthography question: for people writing in the 26-letter (Roman) alphabet, should the eth (ð) be replaced with "d" or "th"?

'd' I believe. Take for example Videy/Viðey.

Disclaimer: IANAI(celander), I've just visited!
posted by wrok at 6:39 AM on February 2, 2009


Orthography question: for people writing in the 26-letter (Roman) alphabet, should the eth (ð) be replaced with "d" or "th"?
We generally use 'd' in circumstances where we can't use eth(ð), and 'th' when we can't use thorn (þ). Funnily enough, I'm pretty sure Icelandic originally got those symbols out of the alphabet used to write Old English, which in turn got them out of the Futhark runic system.
Anyway, until people starting talking about Jóhanna being the first lesbian prime minister, I never had any idea about it, despite her having been very active politically ever since I was a kid. And that is a very good thing. Also noteworthy is the fact that the cabinet that is currently replacing the old one is the first gender-balanced one in Iceland's history (at least).
posted by Zero Gravitas at 7:54 AM on February 2, 2009


kittyprecious: Eth (ð) is usually replaced with a "d" in transliteration while thorn (þ) is usually replaced with "th." So the English spelling of "Sigurðardóttir" is "Sigurdadottir."
posted by weebil at 7:59 AM on February 2, 2009


Oh...er...preview next time, stupid weebil.
posted by weebil at 8:00 AM on February 2, 2009


I, for one...
posted by Eideteker at 8:28 AM on February 2, 2009


...would like to apologize for my comment getting cut off. I meant to hit delete, obviously, after having thought better than make such a crass and juvenile (as well as dated) reference and accidentally hit return instead.
posted by Eideteker at 8:29 AM on February 2, 2009


But ... if she's a lesbian, how did she manage to convince the Icelandic electorate that she was a Jesus-loving church-going Southern Baptist?

Agreed that Icelandic is a beautiful language. Can the Icelanders here clear something up for me? Some Icelandic names appear to be "patronymics" for female names, e.g. Evasdottir. Is that a new thing? Is it common? Do you ever see boys with female patronymics, like Thorbjorn Johannasdottir or something like that?
posted by alexwoods at 9:15 AM on February 2, 2009


Is a woman an overlady instead of an overlord? Or is overlord gender-neutral?

Do you ever see boys with female patronymics, like Thorbjorn Johannasdottir or something like that?

s/Johannasdottir/Johannasson/
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:27 AM on February 2, 2009


It's a shame she wasn't elected earlier.

Just think of all the Bush jokes we're missing out on...
posted by markkraft at 10:10 AM on February 2, 2009


Do you ever see boys with female patronymics, like Thorbjorn Johannasdottir or something like that?

Yeah sure, though your example would be Þorbjörn Jóhönnuson. A friend of mine, Inga, has a young son, and the father didn't want to have anything to do the kid, so she decided to use a matronymic, calling him Ívar Inguson. This isn't particularly unusual, and growing less so.
posted by Zero Gravitas at 10:42 AM on February 2, 2009


To add to Zero Gravitas' answer: Patronyms have been used in Icelandic and its antecedent languages as far back as anyone can tell. I have a family last name, Tulinius, but that's because my great-great-grandfater was Danish. I think about 5% of Icelanders have family last names.
posted by Kattullus at 11:36 AM on February 2, 2009


Johanna SigudaROWR ROWR!
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 11:59 AM on February 2, 2009


Does Sarah Churchill not count because she was married to a man and half-assed denied being Queen Anne's girlfriend or because women weren't alowed to be called "Prime Minister" in 1704?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:02 PM on February 2, 2009


Here's her blog, but it's in Icelandic, and Google Translate doesn't have that language. But maybe it would be interesting for some one else.
posted by bluefly at 1:31 PM on February 2, 2009


"Just think of all the Bush jokes we're missing out on..."

I, for one, am not missing out on any Bush jokes. In part, that's because I don't miss the jokes; they're lazy and "safe" because everyone knows W. is a horrible person who did horrible things. But I think even moreso it's that people haven't stopped making them. Yes, he was horrible. Build a bridge and get over it. Hope and change, remember? Not "beating a dead horse."
posted by Eideteker at 1:57 PM on February 2, 2009


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