Ottawa, Canada Mayor Jim Watson has come out as gay at age 58 in an essay in the Ottawa Citizen. Watson noted that he was elected to the Ottawa City Council at age 30 and called his coming out 40 years too late. Watson has served as mayor for nine years.
“My reluctance has not allowed me to live my life as full of love and adventure as my gay friends who were bolder and braver than I ever was,” said Watson.
Watson called not coming out sooner a “big mistake” on his part: “Most of my friends through the years got married and had kids, and they travelled down a separate road filled with family, soccer practices and their careers. Most of my friends who are gay are quite open about it, and many are in wonderful relationships or, in several cases, married. That leaves someone like me, who, while closeted, doesn’t fit either of these groups.”
The mayor said there was “not really one Eureka moment” that prompted him to write his op-ed but cited two moments that pushed him toward it.
The first was a tweet he received after announcing he would fly the rainbow flag at City Hall during the Sochi Olympics in Russia, which said, ʺThis is a stupid waste of time. You’ve lost my vote.”
Watson’s response went viral: ‘”If you have that point of view, I really don’t want your vote.”
The second incident was a man who approached him in the park and told him, before that year’s Pride parade, “I hope you’re not going in that fag parade.”
Watson advised those in the closet, “Don’t feel pressured or rushed to come out, but don’t wait 40 years either.”