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.

Just Posted

Esquimalt speed skating week helps province determine find fastest skater

Speed Week takes place on Dec. 17 at Archie Browning arena

Longtime Saanich drama group brings pirates onstage for traditional Christmas pantomime

St. Luke’s Players present Treasure Island Dec. 18 to Jan. 4

Goldstream church offers free festive feast

Gordon United Church says all are welcome to attend Monday’s meal

VIDEO: Over 2,000 pounds of food collected for annual View Royal Fire Santa Run

Non-perishables, plus more than $3000 raised for Goldstream Food Bank

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Most Read