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Iceland Prime Minister

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MacGyverMagic
492353.  Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:26 am Reply with quote

After the bank system over there collapsed, Iceland lost its prime minister. The new one is Johanna Sigurdardottir who is described as "the world's first openly gay leader". Is that really true, or is it general ignorance?

 
CB27
492519.  Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:59 am Reply with quote

I think it's ignorant of the press to just concentrate on this bit of information alone.

 
scottydog
492523.  Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:10 am Reply with quote

I don't know about ignorance but for me it is in the same boat as all the Obama stuff.

I personally couldn't give a monkeys about colour, creed, sexuality, favourite food, personal habits and all the other media hyped crap as long as they do the best job they can with what they have.

The press will only ever be the press.

I suppose there's an argument that it is good for the gay community just as there is one surrounding Obama being black and the positive effects on the black communitites of the states (and further). but it is far less important than the leadership jobs in hand.

 
suze
492739.  Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:10 pm Reply with quote

First of all, Geir Haarde is still the Prime Minister of Iceland, although probably only until tomorrow.

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir will only become PM if, as is expected, the Social Democratic Alliance (Samfylkingin) leads a new coalition government. That announcement is expected tomorrow. Incidentally, Ms Jóhanna isn't even the leader of the SDA - but its leader Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir is undergoing treatment for cancer and hence chose to delegate.

Her premiership could in any case be shortlived - there's to be a general election in Iceland on 9 May. Mr Geir is to stand down as leader of the Independence Party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn) before then, so there could be yet another PM as from then.

But for what it's worth, it seems that Ms Jóhanna will indeed be the world's first openly gay Prime Minister. It's believed by many that the late Edward Heath - British PM in the 70s - was gay, but at no time did he admit the fact. There have undoubtedly been others.

 
MacGyverMagic
492820.  Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:40 pm Reply with quote

I was more thinking along the lines of Greeks and Romans. Stephen hasn't made it a secret that homosexuality was common and well-accepted at the time. Surely some ancient leaders were openly gay at the time?

@CB27, my newspaper mentioned the gay thing to get attention but did a fairly good job at focusing on other parts of her career.

 
96aelw
492951.  Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:30 pm Reply with quote

Well, I've heard her also specifically described as being (or being about to be) the first openly gay Prime Minister, which gets round the ancient stuff. Some slight issues as well with the whole can of worms that is the appropriateness or otherwise of using modern terms like 'homosexuality' to describe the sexualities of people who would not themselves have considered such issues in precisely similar terms. However, all that aside, yes, there have previously been leaders who made no secret of their liasons with individuals of the same sex as themselves. Hadrian (of Wall fame) springs immediately to mind for one.

 
djgordy
492955.  Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:40 pm Reply with quote

MacGyverMagic wrote:
I was more thinking along the lines of Greeks and Romans. Stephen hasn't made it a secret that homosexuality was common and well-accepted at the time. Surely some ancient leaders were openly gay at the time?


Alexander the Great.

 
Moosh
493030.  Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:48 am Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:
MacGyverMagic wrote:
I was more thinking along the lines of Greeks and Romans. Stephen hasn't made it a secret that homosexuality was common and well-accepted at the time. Surely some ancient leaders were openly gay at the time?


Alexander the Great.


Was bisexual rather than gay, if I remember correctly.

 
MacGyverMagic
493041.  Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:13 am Reply with quote

96aelw wrote:
Well, I've heard her also specifically described as being (or being about to be) the first openly gay Prime Minister
My source was saying world leader rather than prime minister. Wasn't Alexander the Great's sexuality one big myth? I'd like to see some evidence with those names.

 
AndyMcH
493050.  Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:28 am Reply with quote

As 96aelw says, the whole concept of sexuality is relatively new. In ancient times there was no real word for sexual orientation...

We can say Alexander the Great was bisexual as he had affairs with men and women, but there would have been no word or concept of it at the time.

 
Ian Dunn
493064.  Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:02 am Reply with quote

Yes, I believe that Alexander the Great was refered to as a short, left-handed, epileptic, Albanian and bisexual with a very high pitched voice.

 
MacGyverMagic
493438.  Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:15 pm Reply with quote

TubewayAndy wrote:
As 96aelw says, the whole concept of sexuality is relatively new. In ancient times there was no real word for sexual orientation...

We can say Alexander the Great was bisexual as he had affairs with men and women, but there would have been no word or concept of it at the time.
The concept, as in the words to describe it, are new, but that doesn't mean the feelings weren't there in the ancient world.

 
96aelw
493450.  Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:32 pm Reply with quote

Well, up to a point it does, as in Douglas Adams' Shaltanacs, who found that the best way to avoid being unhappy is not to have a word for it. The concept doesn't just mean "the words to describe it", but, well, the concept; the absence of such words can indicate a lack of a concept to be described.

In this case, of course the existence of sexual attraction is, as you say, not new. But the idea of defining one's sexual tastes in terms of the sex or sexes to which they are confined or not confined is new, and is not one Alexander would have recognized or used. As such, it's not actually wrong to refer to him as bisexual (homosexual and heterosexual probably would be wrong, but bisexuality is, I suppose, less problematic by virtue of being all embracing), but one needs to be aware when doing it that it's a bit like calling him Albanian; useful, up to a point, but not a description that he would have recognized.

(Although, as it happens, describing him as Albanian is just wrong, any way you slice it, but never mind).

 
djgordy
493591.  Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:15 am Reply with quote

96aelw wrote:
Well, up to a point it does, as in Douglas Adams' Shaltanacs, who found that the best way to avoid being unhappy is not to have a word for it. The concept doesn't just mean "the words to describe it", but, well, the concept; the absence of such words can indicate a lack of a concept to be described.


However, the French then come along and give everyone contracts "je n'ai sais quoi".

 
Moosh
494050.  Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:29 pm Reply with quote

I notice the BBC is rather less certain about it, describing her as:
BBC wrote:
the first openly lesbian head of government in Europe, if not the world - at least in modern times.


Thus avoiding the whole Alexander the Great arguement.

 

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