Friday, 30 January 2009

Ice barriers fall

Next week Iceland's going to get not only it's first female Prime Minister, but also the first openly homosexual leader in the world.

And apparently the Icelanders are surprised that other people think this is a big deal. Here's one such Icelander writing at The Huffington Post:
This small North Atlantic nation was the first to elect a female head of state when Vigdis Finnbogadottir became its 4th president in 1980. Although that event was widely publicized at the time, Ms. Sigurdardottir's appointment has been met with general apathy both inside and outside the country.

I guess I still have the attitude of most Icelanders when it comes to matters of sexual issues, because I failed to pick up on the newsworthiness of Sigurdardottir's sexual orientation. "Oh, vow," said an American friend of mine, "that's really something! First openly gay world leader!"

Huh? Why, who cares? Even after living in America all these years, where hounding politicians into surrealistic hell about their private lives is the norm, it didn't really ring bells for me. "I don't see what her sexual orientation has to do with anything," my mother told me yesterday. "It's no one's business but her own."

It's good to celebrate when barriers fall. And I look forward to the day when the walls are so stomped into the ground that we don't even notice them anymore, as a friend of the above writer puts it:

"Johanna is very smart and not afraid to tackle difficult issues, and I think she can unite us," my friend added. "Reasonable, sane people are not going to care about people's gender or color. They just want the best person for the job."
Hat tipped to that onto-it happening cat, Idiot Savant


G said...

You forgot Hadrian.

Perhaps Alexander the Great too?

Lucy said...

And any number of other historical leaders whose homosexuality was known or rumoured, but that's not the same thing as being a gay national leader in a modern sense and in the modern world, making this entirely worth noting.

Hugh said...

China had several Emperors who married men.

Alex :) said...

...agreed, Lucy.
Plus that fact that Hazza, Al and the Emperors were all men. Twofer. Yuss. :)

Hugh said...

Well, historically there have been so few national leaders who are women the fact that none of them have been openly gay may not be so surprising, statistically.

Julie said...

Do I really need to amend this post to say "first openly homosexual leader of the modern age?"

What do the stats say on the likelihood that there's been a gay All Black Hugh?

Hugh said...

I'm sure there have been plenty of gay All Blacks, just not openly so.

Anonymous said...

Big ups to the first openly homosexual leader elected but I do think being the prime minister of Iceland at the moment with the recession biting them so hard early and the rioting and unrest is possibly one of the worst jobs in the world.

Three cheers and it will be interesting to see what changes she makes.

Hugh said...

She hasn't actually been elected. She's come to power through the collapse of a coalition and the formation of a new coalition.

The position of 'first elected openly homosexual head of government' is still very much open. Of course it's possible she might fill that too.