Outgoing Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir will be traveling to China next week on an official visit to sign a free trade agreement. While the trip is official government business, much press attention has been paid to how the Chinese media and government officials will address the world’s first openly gay political leader and her wife, Jónína Leósdóttir, who will make the trip with her.
Homosexuality is still very much taboo in China, with the New York Times pointing out that it was just decriminalized in 1997 and removed from a list of mental disorders in 2001.
“Proponents of gay marriage here plan to watch closely how the state broadcaster, CCTV, handles coverage of the Icelandic visit, since gay marriage is not legal in China but there is pressure from some parts of society to legalize it,” writes the Times.
Meanwhile, Pink News is reporting that Jóhanna and Jónína have been invited to meet with members of a Beijing chapter of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) while in the country. It is not known if the Prime Minister and her wife will accept the invitation.
Former Premier Wen Jaibao invited Jóhanna to China when he was visiting Iceland last year. She will be meeting with Mr. Jaibao, as well as with the new Premier, Li Keqiang, and President Xi Jinping.