On This Gay Day: Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir becomes PM of Iceland

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir become the first world leader who is LGBTIQ+

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir made history when she was elected Iceland’s Prime Minister in 2009. Upon her appointment she became the first world leader who had publicly shared that they were same-sex attracted.

The politician served as Iceland’s leader from 2009 to 2013 before announcing her retirement from politics. When she ended her political career she was the country’s longest serving parliamentarian having first been elected in 1978.

In 1994 she lost a bid to become the Socialist Democratic Party’s leader. Sigurðardóttir said “Minn tími mun koma”, which translates as “My time will come”, the phrase became a popular expression in Iceland. She left the party she’d been a member of her entire political career and formed a new party National Awakening. The two parties merged together in 2000 to become the Socialist Democratic Alliance.

Her time as Prime Minister saw iceland face many financial challenges, but her left-wing government brought in many substantial changes including banning strip clubs and other forms of business that allowed businesses to profit from nudity.

Prior to enter politics she was an airline flight attendant and a union leader. She married Þorvaldur Steinar Jóhannesson in 1970 and the couple had two sons. After her divorce in 1987, she met playwright  Jónína Leósdóttir.

The couple entered into a civil union in 2002 and in 2010 they upgraded their union to a marriage when Iceland changed the laws.

Antony and the Johnsons release ‘I Am a Bird Now’ 

In 2005 New York City band Antony and the Johnsons released their second album I Am a Bird Now. 

The album featured the striking vocals of the lead singer who is now known as ANOHNI, as well as guest appearances from Joan as Police Woman, Rufus Wainwright, Davendra Banhart, Boy George and Lou Reed.

The album’s cover is a photograph of Andy Warhol superstar Candy Darling on her deathbed. The actress, who was transgender, appeared in many of Warhol’s films and was the subject of The Velvet Underground song Candy Says, as well as being mentioned in the second verse of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wildside. 

At the time of its release the record was critically acclaimed but didn’t have much chart success. In September 2005 it was the surprise winner of the Mercury Prize, an award that celebrates British recording artists. The decision to award the band the prize was controversial. They were eligible because lead singer ANOHNI was born in the United Kingdom, she had moved to the United States when she was ten years old.

Winning the Mercury Prize propelled the band into the public consciousness and the album shot up the charts going from number 135 to 16 within a week.

The album contains two of the groups most memorable songs. Hope There’s Someone, is a sorrowful song which sees the protagonist sharing their fears that they’ll never find love and partner who will stay with them as they grow old, while You Are My Sister sees ANOHNI team up with Boy George.

In 2019 The Guardian listed the album 40th on it’s list of the best albums of the 21st century.

OIP Staff, this post was first published on 1st February 2020 and was updated in 2022.

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