Iceland PM asked to meet with gay rights activists in Chinese visit

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Iceland’s prime minister has been asked to meet with the parents of gay children during her visit to China.

Johanna Sigurdardottir, the world’s first openly gay prime minister, is due in the country next week.

The Xinhua news agency reports Sigurdardottir and her wife Jonina Leosdottir have been asked to meet with members of PFLAG China (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) in Beijing.

It’s unknown if Sigurdardottir will take up the request, but activists in China have described the visit as “encouraging”.

She will meet with China’s President, Xi Jinping, who assumed office last November.  

China recognises neither same-sex marriages nor civil unions.

In February, more than 100 parents of gay Chinese citizens wrote an open letter to delegates of China’s National People’s Congress, demanding marriage equality for their children, after two Beijing lesbians were not allowed to register their marriage.

Over the past decade Chinese society has gradually taken more of an open minded approach to acknowledging LGBT issues, although the attitude of the government towards gay citizens is believed to consist of: “No approval; no disapproval; no promotion.”

China decriminalised homosexuality in 1997 and removed it from the official list of mental disorders in 2001.

However, homosexuality still remains a taboo subject in the official media.

The Marriage Law of the People’s Republic of China explicitly defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

In addition, the Chinese Government requires parents adopting children from China to be in heterosexual marriages.