List of first LGBT holders of political offices in Canada

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

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.

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]



Provincial and territorial[edit]

As of 2015, only New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have never had an openly gay member of their provincial or territorial legislatures. (Richard Hatfield, premier of New Brunswick from 1970 to 1987, was outed as gay following his death, but was never publicly out during his career in politics.)

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 three provinces and one territory 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.


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 this term, but do not specify what year. After serving a term in the National Assembly of Quebec from 1985 to 1989, 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.[7] Whitton never publicly identified herself as lesbian during her lifetime.

City councillors[edit]

  • First city councillor: At the last caretaker meeting of Tecumseh, Ontario's municipal council following the 1980 municipal elections, outgoing reeve and unsuccessful mayoral candidate Cameron Frye acknowledged that he was gay.[8] 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",[9] although Frye refused to confirm or deny the claims about his sexuality during the campaign.[10] Frye was first elected to the municipal council in 1972.[10]
  • First city councillor already out at first election: Raymond Blain (Montreal), 1986

By province[edit]


British Columbia[edit]

  • City councillor in Vancouver:
  • City councillor in Cumberland: Conner Copeman - 2011


Nova Scotia[edit]

  • City councillor in Halifax: Krista Snow - 2003




  • City councillor in Saskatoon:
    • Male: Darren Hill – 2006[11]
    • Female: Lenore Swystun – 2000

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Karen Fulcher, "We've come a long way, baby!" PinkPlayMags, Autumn 2010.
  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. ^ "Homosexual plans to run for seat on school board". Toronto Star, July 25, 1972.
  5. ^ Peace River Block News Dawson Creek, BC; 1995 December 15, page 8.
  6. ^ "Wade MacLauchlan on brink of becoming PEI premier". The Globe and Mail, February 21, 2015.
  7. ^ Maynard, Steven (Summer 2001), "Maple Leaf (Gardens) forever: Sex, Canadian historians, and national history", The Journal of Canadian Studies, retrieved 2008-09-21 
  8. ^ "Reeve gauche: A sad come-out". The Body Politic, February 1981.
  9. ^ "Victim of hate mail loses in bid for mayor". The Body Politic, December 1980.
  10. ^ a b "Hate mail clouds campaign in town that promotes love". Toronto Star, November 2, 1980.
  11. ^ "Out and elected: Darren Hill refuses to let his sexuality define him". Saskatoon StarPhoenix, June 19, 2014.