History was made in more ways than one on Feb. 11, 2013, when Kathleen Wynne was sworn into office as the first female premier in Ontario, and the first openly gay premier in Canada.
Now if only people would start to acknowledge her as our premier – not just a female and lesbian.
Although it is exciting and ground-breaking that our first openly gay premier has been elected into office, I have yet to understand why the media focus’ in on just Kathleen Wynne’s sexuality and gender, as opposed to the content of her character and political viewpoints.
Kathleen Wynne is an exceptional person. It took three rounds of competitive voting until Wynne surpassed her competition, Sandra Pupatello, by a landslide of 1,150 to 866, and as the results were announced, the cheers for Wynne were practically deafening in Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. Wynne, who used to work as a school trustee and social activist, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Queens University and a Master’s degree in linguistics at the University of Toronto. Needless to say, Kathleen Wynne is a successful and accomplished woman – so why don’t we acknowledge that?
What sells in the media is being different. Seldom do people care to read about someone who lives the same boring lifestyle as they do, which is why the media will only give Kathleen Wynne negative attention for being a lesbian.
Now in April, it has been well over a two months since the hype regarding Kathleen Wynne’s sexuality first rose amongst the media, yet for some reason every article surrounding her still has words such as “gay” or “lesbian” in the headline.
I can only imagine how difficult it must be to endlessly put work into getting an education, building a reputation and forming a solid campaign, only to get elected and noticed as “the lesbian Premier.” To make a stereotyping problem go away, we need to stop addressing it, stop publicizing, and stop dragging it on.
In the world of politics, the positive steps towards equality have been outstanding within the last few years. North America has finally put an end to choosing political leaders based off their race, sexuality, gender or class. The United States currently has its first black president, and Canada has its first homosexual premier – both of which are political leaders from a minority group.
Fifty years ago, a black man and a lesbian woman being elected into power would have been unimaginable. North America should continue to encourage, support, and look forward to the advancements in equality that will come within the next 50 years – not ostracize and isolate these politicians even more based on their differences.
Judge people based off the content of their character, not their sexuality.