A Chinese group campaigning for equal rights for homosexuals in the country has invited Iceland’s prime minister Johanna Sigurdardottir (pictured, left), the world’s first openly gay premier, for an interaction during her official visit here next week.
She will be accompanied by her wife Jonina Leosdottir (pictured, right) during her visit from April 15, on the invitation of newly-elected Chinese Prime Minister, Li Keqiang.
PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) China, a Guangzhou-based grassroots organization that supports rights of homosexuals, sent the invitation.
“Though the chance of meeting the Iceland PM appears slim, their official visit will be a real-life lesson in equal rights taught to our state leaders,” A Qiang, a worker at PFLAG China said, Hong Kong based South China Morning Post reported.
Thousands of comments were made regarding the upcoming visit on ‘Weibo’, the Chinese version of Twitter.
“Will the wife be photographed together with Peng Liyuan (President Xi Jinping’s wife)?” posted a blogger on Weibo.
“Let them demonstrate to our leaders the real meaning of ‘human rights’,” said another blogger.
A blogger from Chongqing, who is the mother of a lesbian, posted an open letter to the Iceland PM on her blog, praising her courage after sharing her own story.
“We were confused when our daughter told me she likes girls. We started accepting her only after she took us to help groups for gay parents. Now I am proud of my daughter and I talk to other parents who have a hard time dealing with their children’s sexuality,” she wrote.
“I’ve asked my daughter to learn from you and make a difference in the world. You have lived an exceptional and courageous life. On behalf of my family, we’d like to invite you and your wife to visit Chongqing and be guests at my house,” she added.
Despite the optimism and expectations expressed online, Yu Shi, an activist at ‘Les Chengdu’, a Sichuan-based lesbian rights group, said the Chinese government is unlikely to grant homosexuals equal legal rights in the near future simply because of this visit.
“But it’s still a good thing,” she said, “At least this means our leaders are aware of the issue,” he said.
China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997 and removed it from the official list of mental disorders in 2001.
But homosexuality still remains a taboo in the official media.