List of the 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.

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 LGBT during their careers in politics, either coming out after they retired or being officially outed only in posthumous biographical sources, as well as openly LGBT politicians whose election or appointment to office was not a historically significant first as other LGBT people had already held the same office before them.

As of 2018, 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, and one who was first elected alongside him in 1979, Ian Waddell, are known to have come out as gay or bisexual after their retirement from politics.[14][15][16]

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 2018, only New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Nunavut have never had an openly LGBT member of their provincial or territorial legislatures, although both Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have had legislators who came out as LGBT after leaving the legislature or were outed as LGBT 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. Alberta and Manitoba have had elected MLAs who identified as non-binary.

Some figures, including Ian Scott, Keith Norton, Phil Gillies and Dominic Agostino in Ontario and Claude Charron and Guy Joron in Quebec, predated the firsts listed here 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)
  • Transgender mayor: Julie Lemieux was elected mayor of Très-Saint-Rédempteur in the 2017 municipal election.

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 in a Boston marriage-style living arrangement with another 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.[30] 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.[31] 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",[32] although Frye refused to confirm or deny the claims about his sexuality during the campaign.[33] Frye was first elected to the municipal council in 1972.[33]
  • First city councillor already out at first election: Raymond Blain (Montreal), 1986

By province[edit]


British Columbia[edit]


New Brunswick[edit]

  • Mayor of Caraquet: Kevin Haché - 2012[43]

Newfoundland and Labrador[edit]

  • Deputy mayor in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland and Labrador: Sonia Williams — 2013
  • Municipal councillor in Wabana, Bell Island: Donovan Taplin — 2013. Taplin was openly gay during their time as a councillor, and later additionally came out as non-binary.[44]

Nova Scotia[edit]

  • City councillor in Halifax - Krista Snow - 2003[45]
  • Municipal Councillor in Region of Queens - Brian Fralic - 2012[46]
  • Mayor of Cape Breton Regional Municipality: Cecil Clarke - elected 2012[47] [Came out: 2018]




  • City councillor in Prince Albert:
    • Male: Evert Botha - 2016[60]
  • City councillor in Saskatoon:
    • Male: Darren Hill – 2006[61]
    • Female: Lenore Swystun – 2000[61]

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. ^ a b Zeidler, Maryse. "30 years after Canada's first MP came out, LGBT politicians still face challenges | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  10. ^ a b "Libby Davies leaves Ottawa -". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  11. ^ a b "NDP's Siksay stepping down as Burnaby MP | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  12. ^ Dec 17, CBC News · Posted; December 18, 2012 12:50 PM ET | Last Updated; 2012. "Laurier LaPierre, ex-senator and broadcaster, dies at 83 | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-02-17.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ a b Groat, Cody (2014-03-12). "Canadian Stories: Conversations with Senator Nancy Ruth". Canadian Stories. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  14. ^ "Well-known Canadians who died in 2010". 2010-12-26. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  15. ^ "Charles Lapointe – Montreal Gazette". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  16. ^ Mulgrew, Ian (2018-11-02). "Ian Mulgrew: The Picture of Dorian Gray Waddell | Vancouver Sun". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  17. ^ a b "'Feels very right': Liberal Scott Brison resigns from cabinet, not running in 2019 | CTV News". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  18. ^ "Gay MP Mario Silva works to combat anti-Semitism". Xtra. 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  19. ^ "Laurier LaPierre". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  20. ^ "Gay Bloc MP Réal Ménard leaves federal politics". Xtra. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  21. ^ a b "Four openly gay or lesbian new MPs elected to Ottawa". Xtra. 2015-10-20. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  22. ^ Browne, Rachel (2016-11-25). "Canada's first LGBTQ2 advisor talks gay rights and his personal journey". Vice News. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  23. ^ "This Magazine → Why the Green Party matters now more than ever in Canadian politics". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  24. ^ Brenda Murphy 'humbled' to be appointed New Brunswick's new lieutenant-governor. CBC News, September 5, 2019.
  25. ^ Brenda Murphy officially sworn in as lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick. Global News, September 9, 2019.
  26. ^ "Wade MacLauchlan on brink of becoming PEI premier". The Globe and Mail, February 21, 2015.
  27. ^ "Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announces six new cabinet posts". CBC News, February 2, 2016.
  28. ^ "An Alberta MLA on battling gender identity". Maclean's, December 1, 2015.
  29. ^ "NDP candidate supports education" Archived 2015-05-18 at the Wayback Machine. Sherwood Park News, April 30, 2015.
  30. ^ 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
  31. ^ "Reeve gauche: A sad come-out". The Body Politic, February 1981.
  32. ^ "Victim of hate mail loses in bid for mayor". The Body Politic, December 1980.
  33. ^ a b "Hate mail clouds campaign in town that promotes love". Toronto Star, November 2, 1980.
  34. ^ "The legacy of Edmonton's Michael Phair". Xtra. 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  35. ^ "McKibben remembered for dedication to Edmonton | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  36. ^ McIntosh, Emma (2016-08-24). "Calgary's first transgender city council candidate launches campaign | Calgary Herald". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  37. ^ Janoff, Douglas (2005). Pink Blood: Homophobic Violence in Canada. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9780802085702.
  38. ^ "LGBT activist Ellen Woodsworth emphasizes need for queer safe spaces throughout Metro Vancouver". Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly. 2016-07-11. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  39. ^ "NDP MP Refuses to Withdraw from Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group". Palestine Chronicle. 2018-08-22. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  40. ^ "Assault raises concerns about gay bashing | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  41. ^ Burke, David (October 29, 2009). "Former Whistler mayor Ted Nebbeling dies". Question. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  42. ^ News, Elizabeth McSheffrey in; Energy; July 31st 2017, Politics | (2017-07-31). "Ontario Minister Glen Murray quits politics for dream job". National Observer. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  43. ^ Samuel Larochelle, "Kévin J. Haché, le maire ouvertement gai de Caraquet". Fugues, November 27, 2019.
  44. ^ "Meet the politician who came out — to a town council". CBC News, July 19, 2019.
  45. ^ "Friends remember 'bright light' and community activist | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  46. ^ "Liverpool "Pridebombed" overnight". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  47. ^ "Nova Scotia Mayor Comes Out, Says Someone Threatened To Expose Him". HuffPost Canada. 2018-02-01. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  48. ^ "Brant County flies first Pride flag". Brantford Expositor, June 10, 2019.
  49. ^ "‘One small gesture’: Barrie councillors pass rainbow crosswalk proposal"., May 6, 2019.
  50. ^ Montgomery, Bob (March 3, 2017). "Goderich Mayor Opposes Rainbow Crosswalk". Blackburn News.
  51. ^ "Hamilton to welcome first gay councillor". CHCH-DT, November 25, 2014.
  52. ^ Peter Zimonjic and Katie Simpson, "Scheer gets support from openly gay candidate over same-sex marriage controversy". CBC News, August 27, 2019.
  53. ^ "Revue Politique: December 7, 2006". CPAC. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  54. ^ "Ottawa leads in pride, but trails in tolerance". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  55. ^ "Catherine McKenney, Catherine McKenna and Ottawa's struggle to tell them apart -". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  56. ^ "Mayor Jim Watson: After 40 years, I'm opening the closet door". Ottawa Citizen, August 17, 2019.
  57. ^ "Kyle Rae calls it a day". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  58. ^ Freeman, Joshua (2014-06-23). "Out in public: Wong-Tam weighs in on being gay in public life". CP24. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  59. ^ "Milestones". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  60. ^ "Evert Botha apologizes for 'disrespectful' comments about Raiders DJ | CTV News Saskatoon". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  61. ^ 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.