List of the first LGBT holders of political offices in Canada
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 openly gay political candidate, regardless of electoral status: Peter Maloney ran for a seat on the Toronto Board of Education in the 1972 Toronto municipal election as an openly gay candidate. (He had previously been an Ontario Liberal Party candidate in St. George in the 1971 Ontario provincial election, and some later biographical sources have stated that he ran as an openly gay candidate at that time as well, but no indication of his sexuality is seen in any media coverage of the 1971 election. The first known coverage of Maloney which makes any reference to his sexuality is of a party policy conference in early 1972, several months after the election was over.) Robert Douglas Cook, a Gay Alliance Toward Equality candidate for the electoral district of West Vancouver-Howe Sound in the 1979 British Columbia provincial election, has been credited with this distinction by some media outlets, but was in fact merely the first to run as a candidate of an explicitly gay-identified political organization rather than a traditional political party or for a non-partisan office.
- First transgender candidate, regardless of electoral status: Jamie Lee Hamilton ran for Vancouver's Parks Board in 1996. Christin Milloy, an Ontario Libertarian Party candidate in the 2011 provincial election in Ontario, was the first transgender candidate in a provincial election. Jennifer McCreath, a Strength in Democracy candidate in Avalon in the 2015 federal election, was the first transgender candidate in a federal election.
- First openly gay person elected to office: Raymond Blain (Montreal City Council, 1986) is commonly credited with this distinction, although Maurice Richard, who was elected to the National Assembly of Quebec in 1985 after coming out as gay sometime during his term as mayor of Bécancour, Quebec from 1976 to 1985, predated him and the story was simply not picked up by national media until later on. Out lesbian Sue Harris won election to the Vancouver Parks Board in 1984. Jim Egan (Comox-Strathcona Regional District board, 1981) may also have predated all of them, although sources are unclear on whether he ran as an openly gay candidate at the time.
- First transgender person elected to office: Julie Lemieux was elected to the municipal council of Très-Saint-Rédempteur in the 2013 municipal election, and later ran for and won the mayoralty of the village in the subsequent 2017 municipal election. Although reported as a lesbian-identified woman at the time of their election to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in 2015, Estefania Cortes-Vargas came out as non-binary in an assembly debate later in the year.
- Member of Parliament:
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.
By provincial delegation
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.
- British Columbia
- Nova Scotia
- Newfoundland and Labrador
Provincial and territorial
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.
- Lieutenant Governor
- Provincial Premier
- Female: Kathleen Wynne (Ontario) – 2013 (First female premier of Ontario, first openly LGBT premier in Canada)
- Male: Wade MacLauchlan (Prince Edward Island) – 2015
- One provincial premier, Richard Hatfield in New Brunswick, predated Wynne but was not out as gay during his political career, instead being outed only after his death.
- Provincial Deputy Premier
- Provincial cabinet minister:
- Leader of a provincial party: Allison Brewer (New Brunswick New Democratic Party) – 2005
- Leader of a provincial party with seats in a legislature: André Boisclair (Parti Québécois) – 2005
- Provincial and territorial legislators:
- British Columbia
- Male: Michael Connolly and Ricardo Miranda, 2015
- Genderqueer: Estefania Cortes-Vargas, 2015 Cortes-Vargas publicly identified as a lesbian woman at the time of their election to the legislature, and came out as non-binary during a debate in the legislature later in the year.
- Female: Janis Irwin, 2019
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Gerry Rogers, 2011
- Nova Scotia: Joanne Bernard, 2013
- Prince Edward Island: Wade MacLauchlan, 2015
- Yukon: Dale Eftoda, 2001
- Northwest Territories: Julie Green, 2015
- 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. 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. 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.
- 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. 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", although Frye refused to confirm or deny the claims about his sexuality during the campaign. Frye was first elected to the municipal council in 1972.
- First city councillor already out at first election: Raymond Blain (Montreal), 1986
- City councillor in Edmonton:
- City councillor in Red Deer: Paul Harris - 2010
- City councillor in Calgary: Jeromy Farkas - 2017
- City councillor in Vancouver:
- City councillor in Esquimalt: Randall Garrison - 2008
- City councillor in Cumberland: Conner Copeman - 2011
- City councillor in Victoria: Sarah Potts-Halpin - 2018
- Mayor of Whistler: Ted Nebbeling - 1990 to 1996 
- Mayor of Caraquet: Kevin Haché - 2012
Newfoundland and Labrador
- 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.
- City councillor in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador: Maggie Burton — 2017
- City councillor in Halifax - Krista Snow - 2003
- Municipal Councillor in Region of Queens - Brian Fralic - 2012
- Mayor of Cape Breton Regional Municipality: Cecil Clarke - elected 2012 [Came out: 2018]
- Brant: David Bailey - mayor, elected 2018
- Barrie: Keenan Aylwin - city councillor, elected 2018
- Fort Frances: Douglas Judson - town councillor, elected 2018
- Goderich: Kevin Morrison - mayor, elected 2014
- Hamilton: Aidan Johnson - city councillor, elected 2014
- North Dundas: Eric Duncan - mayor; elected 2010, came out 2017
- Tillsonburg: Mark Renaud - city councillor, elected 2003
- City councillor in Prince Albert:
- Male: Evert Botha - 2016
- City councillor in Saskatoon:
- List of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender firsts by year
- List of the first LGBT holders of political offices
- List of the first LGBT holders of political offices in the United States
- List of the first LGBT holders of political offices in the United Kingdom
- "Homosexual plans to run for seat on school board". Toronto Star, July 25, 1972.
- "Elegy to Club Toronto". Daily Xtra, April 21, 2010.
- "Maloney tells Liberals of his homosexuality". The Globe and Mail, February 14, 1972.
- EVERITT, J., & CAMP, M. (2014). "In versus Out: LGBT Politicians in Canada". Journal of Canadian Studies, 48(1), 226-251.
- Peace River Block News Dawson Creek, BC; 1995 December 15, page 8.
- "Trans candidate makes Canadian history in Ontario". Daily Xtra. September 27, 2011. Retrieved 2016-06-23.
- "Jennifer McCreath running for federal election in Avalon". CBC News, July 27, 2015.
- "Out-of-closet lesbian wins Vancouver vote". The Body Politic, January 1985.
- Zeidler, Maryse. "30 years after Canada's first MP came out, LGBT politicians still face challenges | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Libby Davies leaves Ottawa - Macleans.ca". www.macleans.ca. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "NDP's Siksay stepping down as Burnaby MP | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- 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)
- Groat, Cody (2014-03-12). "Canadian Stories: Conversations with Senator Nancy Ruth". Canadian Stories. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Well-known Canadians who died in 2010". TheRecord.com. 2010-12-26. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Charles Lapointe – Montreal Gazette". montrealgazette.com. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- Mulgrew, Ian (2018-11-02). "Ian Mulgrew: The Picture of Dorian Gray Waddell | Vancouver Sun". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "'Feels very right': Liberal Scott Brison resigns from cabinet, not running in 2019 | CTV News". www.ctvnews.ca. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Gay MP Mario Silva works to combat anti-Semitism". Xtra. 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Laurier LaPierre". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
- "Gay Bloc MP Réal Ménard leaves federal politics". Xtra. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Four openly gay or lesbian new MPs elected to Ottawa". Xtra. 2015-10-20. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- Browne, Rachel (2016-11-25). "Canada's first LGBTQ2 advisor talks gay rights and his personal journey". Vice News. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "This Magazine → Why the Green Party matters now more than ever in Canadian politics". this.org. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- Brenda Murphy 'humbled' to be appointed New Brunswick's new lieutenant-governor. CBC News, September 5, 2019.
- Brenda Murphy officially sworn in as lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick. Global News, September 9, 2019.
- "Wade MacLauchlan on brink of becoming PEI premier". The Globe and Mail, February 21, 2015.
- "Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announces six new cabinet posts". CBC News, February 2, 2016.
- "An Alberta MLA on battling gender identity". Maclean's, December 1, 2015.
- "NDP candidate supports education" Archived 2015-05-18 at the Wayback Machine. Sherwood Park News, April 30, 2015.
- 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
- "Reeve gauche: A sad come-out". The Body Politic, February 1981.
- "Victim of hate mail loses in bid for mayor". The Body Politic, December 1980.
- "Hate mail clouds campaign in town that promotes love". Toronto Star, November 2, 1980.
- "The legacy of Edmonton's Michael Phair". Xtra. 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "McKibben remembered for dedication to Edmonton | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- McIntosh, Emma (2016-08-24). "Calgary's first transgender city council candidate launches campaign | Calgary Herald". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- Janoff, Douglas (2005). Pink Blood: Homophobic Violence in Canada. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9780802085702.
- "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.
- "NDP MP Refuses to Withdraw from Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group". Palestine Chronicle. 2018-08-22. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Assault raises concerns about gay bashing | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- https://www.whistlerquestion.com/news/local-news/former-whistler-mayor-ted-nebbeling-dies-1.1675432. Missing or empty
- 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.
- Samuel Larochelle, "Kévin J. Haché, le maire ouvertement gai de Caraquet". Fugues, November 27, 2019.
- "Meet the politician who came out — to a town council". CBC News, July 19, 2019.
- "Friends remember 'bright light' and community activist | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Liverpool "Pridebombed" overnight". www.southshorebreaker.ca. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Nova Scotia Mayor Comes Out, Says Someone Threatened To Expose Him". HuffPost Canada. 2018-02-01. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Brant County flies first Pride flag". Brantford Expositor, June 10, 2019.
- "‘One small gesture’: Barrie councillors pass rainbow crosswalk proposal". Simcoe.com, May 6, 2019.
- Montgomery, Bob (March 3, 2017). "Goderich Mayor Opposes Rainbow Crosswalk". Blackburn News.
- "Hamilton to welcome first gay councillor". CHCH-DT, November 25, 2014.
- Peter Zimonjic and Katie Simpson, "Scheer gets support from openly gay candidate over same-sex marriage controversy". CBC News, August 27, 2019.
- "Revue Politique: December 7, 2006". CPAC. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Ottawa leads in pride, but trails in tolerance". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Catherine McKenney, Catherine McKenna and Ottawa's struggle to tell them apart - Macleans.ca". www.macleans.ca. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Mayor Jim Watson: After 40 years, I'm opening the closet door". Ottawa Citizen, August 17, 2019.
- "Kyle Rae calls it a day". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- Freeman, Joshua (2014-06-23). "Out in public: Wong-Tam weighs in on being gay in public life". CP24. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Milestones". Newspapers.com. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- "Evert Botha apologizes for 'disrespectful' comments about Raiders DJ | CTV News Saskatoon". saskatoon.ctvnews.ca. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
- 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.