Althea Annan, director of Lakehead University’s Gender Issues Centre
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THUNDER BAY -- The head of Lakehead University’s Gender Issues Centre says she wants to see women in power who use their experience to change the system.
On Sunday, Premier-designate Kathleen Wynne said that while being the first openly gay leader in the country is exciting, it shouldn’t overshadow hew role as Premier. While she wants to be a role-model for youth, Wynne said she’s not a gay activist.
GIC director Althea Annan said while she congratulates Wynne on her victory, she hasn’t heard anything from the Liberal leader that makes her think changes for marginalized groups are on the way.
“(I’d like to see Wynne) actually take her lived experiences and her realities and work from the standpoint,” Annan said. “You don’t continue to uphold the same systems that have kept you down for this many years.”
While Annan hopes that it does start a conversation about the leaps and bounds women and members in the LGBQT community have made over the years, she sees Wynne as a symbol but not actually a representative of the changes that need to be made.
Although Wynne’s victory shows tolerance, it doesn’t mean that elected officials are more comfortable discussing their sexuality then they were before Wynne won.
“There is this innate fear of really changing the system,” she said.
While his party was ready for an openly gay leader, MPP Bill Mauro (Lib., Thunder Bay-Atikokan) said it will be up to Ontario during election time to see if the province at large is. Anytime a person is elected to office, members of the public will pick and choose why they may or may not like someone.
“People will find reasons to like you and support you and they will find reasons not to like you and not to support you. To me it’s a non-issue,” Mauro said.
Wynne told reporters in Toronto that she doesn’t want her sexual orientation to be an issue over the next few months. Instead the historic moment for her is becoming the country’s sixth female Premier. Wynne said she said women in politics may be reaching a critical mass.
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