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

Clinton and District Community Forest passes audit

According to a news release from Forest Practices Board on Feb. 19,… Continue reading

Research casts ‘last stop sign on Trans-Canada’ claim into doubt

Sign was removed from junction of Highways 1 and 97 in Cache Creek in February 1984

Savona athletes head to BC Winter Games

Akira Susanj and Alexander Teague competing in karate events

Ashcroft councillor wants to revisit Village’s burning bylaw

Raven Nyman’s regular report on Ashcroft council

Cache Creek unsuccessful in bid for Quartz Road bridge funding

Highlights from the most recent meeting of Cache Creek council

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Most Read