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

Construction snafu delays Arrow Lakes hospital renos

Arrow Lakes Hospital rebuild now expected to be finished this spring

New ‘hub’ model takes regional approach to doctor recruitment in West Kootenay

Kootenay-Boundary a provincial leader in effectively attracting doctors to work here

Nakusp taking part in project to reduce wildfire risks

Trust provides over $1 million to protect communities

Permitting process pushes back completion for Slocan fibre-optic line

Work may not be done until summer 2021, more than a year after initial completion date

New ‘hub’ model takes regional approach to doctor recruitment in West Kootenay

Kootenay-Boundary a provincial leader in effectively attracting doctors to work here

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Most Read