Gay groups await Chinese visit of Icelandic PM – and her wife
When Iceland’s Prime Minister makes an official visit to China next week, it will not be the signing of a free-trade deal gripping the nation: instead, it will be the level of attention lavished on the first lady that is closely watched, for signs of shifting social attitudes in the Communist nation.
While it is not unusual for a head of state to bring a spouse of 13 years on an official state visit, Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir will be accompanied by her same-sex partner, Jonina Leosdottir, a playwright. It is hoped that her presence could help raise the profile of gay marriage in a country where it is currently illegal.
“Their official visit will be a real-life lesson in equal rights taught to our state leaders,” A Qiang, an activist with the Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays, told the South China Morning Post.
Homosexuality was not legalised in China until 1997 and was only removed from a list of mental disorders in 2001. It remains a taboo subject, with state media simply ignoring it and same-sex couples invisible on television screens.
While there are high hopes that the Icelandic couple will help raise awareness of same-sex couples, it appears that Ms Sigurdardottir will be sticking to the trade agenda. She has reportedly turned down an invitation to meet a group of parents with gay children, with the embassy citing her “busy schedule”.
- 2 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber reach almost £154,000 on eBay
Israel-Gaza crisis: Eight killed in Gaza Strip cafe while watching World Cup semi-final
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...
£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...