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Mayor of Ottawa comes out as gay in moving op-ed piece

Jim Watson recalls how he struggled to come to terms with his sexuality

2019-08-19

Words: Steve Brown

The Mayor of Ottawa, Canada, has come out as gay in a moving op-ed.

Jim Watson, 58, wrote in the Ottawa Citizen how he has struggled to come to terms with his sexuality and was bullied at school and due to his family moving around, he found it difficult to confide in friends.

Writing in the publication, Watson said: “As I look back over the years, there were some tell-tale signs that I wasn’t straight.

“As a grade 7 students, I remember some older boys on my school bus always taunting me and calling me ‘Jim Fairy’.

“Growing up, I was always much more attracted to male TV and movie stars, such as Rob Lowe and Brad Pitt, rather than Julia Roberts and Sharon Stone.”

He then goes on to say how over the years, not coming out sooner was one of the biggest mistakes he has ever done.

Watson continued: “As I look back over my life, and in hindsight, not coming out sooner was a big mistake on my 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.

“Over the years, I told only two (gay) friends that I was gay, although I suspect most of my family and friends just assumed I was, but respected my privacy and never broached the subject.

“Over the last few years, I’ve struggled often about whether or not to come out.”