In politics, the topic of LGBT rights is a contentious issue as legislators decide whether to appease conservatives and deny those rights or to support LGBT rights in the name of creating a fairer, more equal society. Off the back of that, the topic of LGBT politicians is also a thorny subject as while LGBT people want to be represented in government, others accused LGBT politicians of having an agenda.
It was a pleasant surprise back in 2013 when Kathleen Wynne was sworn in as the Premier of Ontario, Canada. Not only is the she the first female premier of Ontario but she is also the first openly gay head of government in the English-speaking world. At the time, Wynne came under for saying that she’s “not a gay activist” as that’s not how she got into politics, but she explained that it would be a “wonderful, wonderful thing” if she could help gay people “be less frightened”.
Two years on and Wynne has again spoken about her duties as a premier but also as a lesbian. She gave a speech to students at the Agincourt Collegiate Institute, in commemoration of the ‘Day of Pink’, which came about when two teenage boys from Nova Scotia brought pink shirts to wear to school after they saw a classmate being bullied for doing the same.
Wynne told the Agincourt students that:
People come up to me all the time and they say ‘I am so glad you are there because my daughter can see that she can be anything, she can do anything’ (and) there are people who come up to me often and say ‘you have made a difference in my son’s life or my daughter’s life — they’re gay — and they see your presence there as an important signal that our society is changing,’ and that we are a safer and more inclusive place”
She also explained that she feels that it’s her responsibility to “make our society safer and more inclusive” and that the Day of Pink “is a day to stand up against homophobia, it’s a day to stand up against transphobia and all those forms of discrimination”. Wynne also defended the government’s controversial new education curriculum, which plans to teach children about same-sex relationships, gender expression, the dangers of sexting and online bullying, saying that it “is about giving kids the information that they need in order to be able to be safe.”