Lesbian Truck-Driver Tweets for Sweden, Makes Sweden Sound Eminently Visitable

As part of an initiative by the Swedish government to improve branding and create “the most democratic twitter feed in the world” the country has opened up their @sweden account to a different Swedish citizen every week. Since beginning the project in December 2011 they have doubled their followers to 20,000.

This week Hanna, a 32 year old lesbian truck-driver, is the citizen at the wheel. (PUN IN YOUR FACE!)  Speaking to ABC News Hanna explained,

“I just am doing what I always do, writing about my life. Sometimes I write about politics and social welfare, but not with a true agenda. I mostly just express my own opinions when I see something that bothers me or I find interesting.”

To catch you up on what she’s been talking about:

And today,
Yes, everybody knows that Hanna! And it seems we  should probably tweet her our suggestions for the  Top 10 Gayest This American Life Episodes:

Hanna will only be tweeting for @Sweden for a week, but fear not, you can continue to follow her @truckerlez account.  Others who have tweeted for Sweden’s twitter account include a female priest, a sheep farmer and an advertising executive. While the social media experiment is unusual, it appears to be working — the @sweden account has doubled its followers over the course of five weeks, and Sweden’s willingness to let those from “othered” communities represent the face of its nation is both inspiring and effective. Hasan Ramic, another tweeter for @sweden who emigrated from Bosnia in the 1990s, has been openly critical of Swedish government officials while speaking from the country’s Twitter account, with no apparent repercussions, except for Sweden’s integrity and transparency as a nation being publicly bolstered. VisitSweden’s social media manager says that they’re trying to be seen as “progressive, open, credible and truthful,” and are actively working against their reputation as a homogenous nation of tall blondes.

Sweden’s not the only nation that prides itself on its heterogeneity — America, for instance, has capitalized fairly well on its reputation as a melting pot of different culture and ethnicities. But it’s still surprising for many to see a country, especially one trying to draw more visitors and positive attention, to let an out lesbian become the face of its nation. Regardless of what kind of rhetoric we throw around about equality, the politics of who we let represent our population, both within and without our country, tends to be pretty consistent — people who are white, thin, English-speaking, and heteronormative. Sweden’s social media experiment proves that not only is there another way, but it’s actually a great idea. Hanna has won fans all over the world, which means Sweden has too. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here — about how visiting Sweden is probably awesome, and also about how maybe the best advice comes from the tourism office of a Scandinavian country —  “you have to let go of control and empower the people.”


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Jamie lives in Boston and is currently a PhD student in Global Governance and Human Security at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is a freelance writer and also a team associate for the Boston chapter of Hollaback!.

Jamie has written 76 articles for us.

34 Comments

  1. Ylva

    this makes me (a short, dark-haired Swede) feel kind of happy with my country. (also; I have a nice ikea-couch for any of you nice lesbians(and others) who feel like visiting.)

  2. Wow, thats amazing.

    Cue mass exodus to Sweden! Count me in ;D

  3. Never have I learned something about Sweden that didn’t make me want to live there.

    • errr….sorry to said, but its also important to broadcast……: in that case then you’re not paying attention, because seriously the last thing i heard about sweden was last week when they wanted to overthrow this stupid law where is you are transgender then you have to be castrated…..

      actually, hello RIESE, where are you when i need you? :) …..how about covering this news on auto straddle Riese? I got an email from AllOut asking to sign a petition against this stupid law:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/20/sweden-transgender-sterilization-law-activists_n_1219878.html

  4. Emy

    The whole compulsory sterilisation for trans* people (who wish to change their legal gender) sort of kills Sweden for me

    • max

      Yeah, same. I wonder if they’d let a trans* citizen use the twitter.

    • I was about to pack my bags until I read this from AllOut dot org…hopefully this horrible law will no longer continue.

    • Baiyune

      Yes! Signed a petition about that this morning actually. Hopefully there’ll be some changes soon!

        • You can go to allout.org and sign it. You can also join the mailing list and they email you updates and new petitions to sign, it’s so great.

    • ginasf

      Um, I think most western nations have extremely backward trans policies compared to their laws for GLB non-trans people. So… weird, maybe, but typical and considering the ruling party in Sweden, not likely to change soon.

  5. Ylva

    Yes, it is disgusting. However, there is no bloody way that law is staing. The Party wanting it to stay, (translated the Christian Democrats) are extremely conservative and frankly their opinions scare the hell out of every sane person in this country. They will not have it their way.

    • I don’t agree. The party as such is not extremely conservative. They are comparateively conservative in some questions, but mostly they’re just bland.

  6. I was in Sweden last week. The upshot of my visit is that I am researching ways to emigrate. It is super feminist and environmentally friendly and eeeeeeeveryone is good looking. I think it might actually be heaven.

  7. Everything I’ve ever heard about Sweden (up to now, about trans* sterilization, wtf?!) has made me want to go there.

  8. I have a really lovely friend from Sweden and I choose to believe it is a landed peopled entirely with awesome people like her. And elves. Jamie, here’s the link http://www.allout.org/en/actions/stop_forced_sterilization?akid=473.578281.znbh2t&rd=1&t=3&utm_campaign=sweden&utm_content=english&utm_medium=email&utm_source=actionkit orrr maybe this one http://www.allout.org/en/actions/stop_forced_sterilization Also, thank you autostraddle for the TAL list!

  9. Outi Les Pyy

    And mean while in Finland… We have our presidencial elections going. On second place in polls so far after a huge clime we have the wonderful (and openly gay) Mr. PEKKA HAAVISTO. I´m already a proud Finn because we have had a female president for so long, but imagine getting the first ever openly gay president… Let´s see what happens this Sunday. Keep your fingers crossed folks!!

      • Niklas

        I’m happy to report that Pekka is officcially in round two of the elections (to be determined on the 5th of february), though he will have an uphill battle against forerunner Sauli Niinistö.

        • 5th February is my birthday, actually – if Pekka wins it’ll be like Finland has gotten me a present :)

  10. Not only is it awesome that she’s a lesbian, but it’s even cooler that they seem to pretty much let her say whatever the fuck she wants. I mean, it feels like a friend’s twitter feed, or that of an autostraddle writer.

  11. Didn’t know about this (and I’m a Swede) but it sounds awesome. And yeah, nice to get some international publicity other than busty blondes, archaic laws and talking about weather :)

  12. I was keen on all this, until i was reading her Feed and she’d tweeted this “‘But aren’t you proud of being a lesbian, it sure seems like it?’ No, it wasn’t my choice either.” …

  13. I want to go to there. (aside from the forced sterilization of trans* residents, Sweden sounds pretty great)

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