List of the first LGBT holders of political offices in Canada

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The following is a list of the first openly LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) holders of elected or appointed political office in Canada.

LGBT people have served at all three main levels of political office in Canada: municipal, provincial and federal. In addition to the milestones noted below, Canada has also had a number of prominent politicians who were not out as gay during their careers in politics, either coming out after they retired or being officially outed only in posthumous biographical sources.

As of 2017, Nunavut is the only province or territory in Canada which has not been represented by any known LGBT politicians at any level of government.

First overall[edit]



At least two federal MPs who predated Robinson, Heward Grafftey and Charles Lapointe, are known to have come out as gay after their retirement from politics.

By provincial delegation[edit]

As of 2015, seven of Canada's ten provinces have elected at least one LGBT MP to the House of Commons or had an LGBT senator appointed from their province.



Provincial and territorial[edit]

As of 2015, only New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Nunavut have never had an openly gay member of their provincial or territorial legislatures, although both Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have had legislators who came out as gay after leaving the legislature or were outed as gay after their deaths.

The provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have had more than one LGBT member, and all have had both gay men and lesbian women serve in the legislatures. The other provinces and territories which have had out LGBT legislators have had only one each to date.

Ontario has also had four gay members of its provincial legislature — Ian Scott, Keith Norton, Phil Gillies and Dominic Agostino — who predated George Smitherman's election in 1999, but were not out to the general public during their time in politics.

To date, most LGBT people who have served in provincial or territorial legislatures have represented urban districts in larger cities, while very few have ever served in a purely rural district.[4]


Overall firsts[edit]


  • Mayor of any municipality: Maurice Richard served as mayor of Bécancour, Quebec from 1975 to 1985. Contemporary biographical sources indicate that he came out as gay sometime during his mayoralty, but are not clear about when; it is known, however, that he was out as gay by the time of his campaign for election to the National Assembly of Quebec in 1985.[4] After serving in the provincial legislature from 1985 to 1994 as its first openly LGBT member, he was reelected to another stint as mayor of Bécancour in 1995.
  • Mayor of a major city: Glen Murray (Winnipeg) – 1998 (world's first)

One mayor, Charlotte Whitton in Ottawa (1951–56, 1961–64), has been the subject of unresolved debate about her sexual orientation. Whitton spent much of her adult life sharing her home with a woman, Margaret Grier; in 1999, 24 years after Whitton's death, the National Archives of Canada publicly released many intimate personal letters between Whitton and Grier. The release of these papers sparked much debate in the Canadian media about whether Whitton and Grier's relationship could be characterized as lesbian, or merely as an emotionally intimate friendship between two unmarried women.[13] Whitton never publicly identified herself as lesbian during her lifetime, and thus could not be considered Canada's first out LGBT mayor regardless of the status of her relationship with Grier.

City councillors[edit]

  • First city councillor: At the last caretaker meeting of Tecumseh, Ontario's municipal council following the 1980 municipal elections, outgoing councillor and unsuccessful mayoral candidate Cameron Frye acknowledged that he was gay.[14] The campaign had been marked by rumours about Frye's sexuality, including the distribution of hate literature claiming that Frye would promote a "gay lifestyle" as mayor and would lead the town into "moral decay",[15] although Frye refused to confirm or deny the claims about his sexuality during the campaign.[16] Frye was first elected to the municipal council in 1972.[16]
  • First city councillor already out at first election: Raymond Blain (Montreal), 1986

By province[edit]


  • City councillor in Edmonton: Michael Phair – 1992
  • City councillor in Red Deer: Paul Harris - 2010

British Columbia[edit]

  • City councillor in Vancouver:
  • City councillor in Cumberland: Conner Copeman - 2011
  • City councillor in Terrace: Michael Prevost - elected 2014; came out in 2016


Nova Scotia[edit]

  • City councillor in Halifax: Krista Snow - 2003
  • Municipal Councillor in Region of Queens: Brian Fralic - 2012

Newfoundland and Labrador[edit]




  • City councillor in Prince Albert:
    • Male: Evert Botha - 2016
  • City councillor in Saskatoon:
    • Male: Darren Hill – 2006[18]
    • Female: Lenore Swystun – 2000[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Homosexual plans to run for seat on school board". Toronto Star, July 25, 1972.
  2. ^ "Elegy to Club Toronto". Daily Xtra, April 21, 2010.
  3. ^ "Maloney tells Liberals of his homosexuality". The Globe and Mail, February 14, 1972.
  4. ^ a b c d EVERITT, J., & CAMP, M. (2014). "In versus Out: LGBT Politicians in Canada". Journal of Canadian Studies, 48(1), 226-251.
  5. ^ Peace River Block News Dawson Creek, BC; 1995 December 15, page 8.
  6. ^ "Trans candidate makes Canadian history in Ontario". Daily Xtra. September 27, 2011. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  7. ^ "Jennifer McCreath running for federal election in Avalon". CBC News, July 27, 2015.
  8. ^ "Out-of-closet lesbian wins Vancouver vote". The Body Politic, January 1985.
  9. ^ "Wade MacLauchlan on brink of becoming PEI premier". The Globe and Mail, February 21, 2015.
  10. ^ "Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announces six new cabinet posts". CBC News, February 2, 2016.
  11. ^ "An Alberta MLA on battling gender identity". Maclean's, December 1, 2015.
  12. ^ "NDP candidate supports education". Sherwood Park News, April 30, 2015.
  13. ^ Maynard, Steven (Summer 2001), "Maple Leaf (Gardens) forever: Sex, Canadian historians, and national history", The Journal of Canadian Studies, archived from the original on 2008-10-16, retrieved 2008-09-21 
  14. ^ "Reeve gauche: A sad come-out". The Body Politic, February 1981.
  15. ^ "Victim of hate mail loses in bid for mayor". The Body Politic, December 1980.
  16. ^ a b "Hate mail clouds campaign in town that promotes love". Toronto Star, November 2, 1980.
  17. ^ "Hamilton to welcome first gay councillor". CHCH-DT, November 25, 2014.
  18. ^ a b Hamilton, Charles (2014-06-19). "Out and elected: Darren Hill refuses to let his sexuality define him". The StarPhoenix. Archived from the original on 2014-06-19.