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Kathleen Wynne more than just her sexuality

By in Opinions

JESSICA SOUBAS 
The Silhouette (McMaster University)

Kathleen Wynne was sworn into office on Feb 11, 2013.
Kathleen Wynne was sworn into office on Feb 11, 2013.

HAMILTON (CUP) — 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 Ontario’s first openly gay premier has been elected into office, I have yet to understand why the media focuses solely on 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. 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 her Master’s degree in linguistics at the University of Toronto. Needless to say, Kathleen Wynne is successful and accomplished — so why don’t we acknowledge that?

Unless Canadians are informed about Ontario’s provincial election, most citizens probably have no clue as to what it is Wynne’s campaign was based on, seeing as how the media has focused largely on her sexuality and gender.

Being different is what sells in the media. Seldom do people care to read about someone who lives the same lifestyle as they do, which is why the media will only give Kathleen Wynne attention for being a woman and a lesbian in politics.

It has been well over three months since the hype regarding Kathleen Wynne’s sexuality first rose in the media, yet for some reason every article about her still has words like “gay” or “lesbian” in the headline.

It must be extremely disheartening 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. The United States currently has its first black president, and Canada has its first gay 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 and campaign, not their sexuality.


Photo: PaulSchreiber/flickr

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