Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →
Born in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, Sigurdardottir received a high school commercial degree. For years, she worked as a flight attendant and was also a trade union activist in the airline industry. In 1978, she was elected for the first time to the Althing, Iceland’s Parliament, as a member of the Social Democratic Party. From 1987 to 1994, Sigurdardottir served as Minister of Social Affairs and Social Security, where she gained a reputation as a supporter of social justice policies for the elderly, the poor, and the disabled, and earned the nickname “Saint Johanna.” When she failed in her bid to become the first woman head of the Social Democratic Party, she famously declared “My time will come.” When Iceland experienced a severe economic crisis in 2008, voters rejected the conservative government, and brought to power a coalition of left-wing parties. On February 1, 2009, Sigurdardottir was named Prime Minister, becoming the first woman to head Iceland’s government, and the first openly lesbian head of government in the world. Sigurdardottir, who had two sons from an earlier marriage, married her partner, Jonina Leosdottir, on June 27, 2010, the first day same-sex marriage was legal in Iceland.