Why I'm Happy Ontario Has An Openly Gay Female Premier
I am probably in the minority in my love for political conventions. It doesn't even matter what party it is -- I love the intrigue, the last minute deals, and most of all I love the feeling of hope.
The Ontario Liberal Convention this weekend was all of that and more. At the end of the third ballot with two women in the lead, Kathleen Wynne was elected Liberal party leader and the Premier-designate of Ontario. She also happens to be a lesbian.
She addressed the issue head-on in her speech:
Is Ontario ready for a gay premier? You've all heard that question... Not surprisingly, I have an answer to that question," Wynne said. "I do not believe that the people of Ontario judge their leaders on the basis of race, sexual orientation, colour or religion. I don't believe they hold that prejudice in their hearts.They judge us on our merits.
I don't know how long Wynne will remain in the Premier's office, but in the meantime, I hope to pass on to my kids a few reasons why it is a great thing that Wynne is out and proud:
Role Model: Eighty-five per cent of Canadians are now being governed by women. A few years ago that would have seemed like an impossible feat. Women are electable. My daughter can look at the newspaper and see women in leadership roles and know that that road is open to her too.
It Gets Better: According to the National Post, Wynne said:
She feels a special responsibility to young gay people who are looking for the possibility that there might be a more accepting world somewhere. She says it’s important to her that she may be helping people to be less frightened.
Glass Ceilings: Glass ceilings exist and it is great to see them completely smashed in a public way.
It Doesn't Matter: One of the greatest things about having a gay Premier is that it will show people that issues matter, not sexuality. As soon as the media drops the issue of Wynne's sexuality, I am sure she will to.
It Doesn't Matter II: When I told my kids that Wynne is a lesbian. They looked at me and said, "So?"
I shed a few tears seeing a woman, especially a gay woman, named Premier (and no, I'm not partisan). But my kids will never know why it was an emotional moment for me, and many other women.
In Tabatha Southey's lovely column about Obama's inauguration speech the headline was "In a few short moments, we all flew over the rainbow." Ontario has flown over the rainbow, and there is no going back. And we are all better for it.
Do you tell your kids if public figures are gay?
Want more chaos? Last year, I asked if Mattel should make a bald Barbie. Months after my post, Mattel bowed to public pressure and agreed to make a bald Barbie.