Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson speaks in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson comes out as gay after 40 years

He writes that he was worried about how his family, friends and colleagues would react

After 40 years, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has come out as gay.

In a column published in the Ottawa Citizen on Saturday, Watson writes that it was a “mistake” not coming out sooner.

He writes that he was worried about how his family, friends and colleagues would react and he struggled coming to terms with his sexuality during his childhood.

Watson says he was inspired to write the column after he raised the pride flag at city hall during the 2014 Olympic Games in Russia to show solidarity with LGBTQ athletes who feared the Russian government’s views on homosexuality.

Watson says he was also convinced to come out of the closet after he was approached by a man in a park two years ago who told him he shouldn’t go to the Ottawa Pride Parade, calling it the “fag parade.”

Many political leaders have written Watson messages of support on social media, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who tweeted that the mayor was brave for sharing his story.

Liberal MP Rob Oliphant, who is openly gay, also posted on Twitter about Watson’s bravery in coming out.

“I am so proud to call Jim Watson a friend. Always gracious, strong and kind,” he tweeted.

In the column, Watson writes that his reluctance to come out about his sexuality deprived him of living a life “full of love and adventure” that his openly gay friends got to experience.

“But if I can be so bold as to offer one bit of advice to those still in the closet: Don’t feel pressured or rushed to come out, but don’t wait 40 years either,” writes Watson.

ALSO READ: 50 years of LGBTQ pride showcased in protests, parades

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wells mining camp worker tests positive for COVID-19

A worker at a mining camp tested positive for the coronavirus after leaving the camp.

Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk 2020 opens Aug. 7

This year’s event features 27 businesses and 28 artists

Rodeo clinic, ranch visit entertains First Nations youth and elders in B.C.’s Interior

A fun time had for Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation at C+ Rodeos

Studies show Mount Polley Mine breach material re-suspends in Quesnel Lake

High copper levels continue in Quesnel River six years after breach

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

Interior Health expands COVID-19 testing access in Kelowna

First-come, first-serve, no-appointment-needed testing centre opens in downtown Kelowna

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Most Read