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Glen Murray Becomes North America’s First Openly Gay Mayor Of A Major City (October 28, 1998)

October 28, 1998: Today in LGBTQ+ history…

On October 28, 1998, Glen Murray made history when he was elected Winnipeg’s 41st mayor, becoming the first openly gay mayor of any large city in North America. Murray was re-elected in 2002. 

And his life in politics didn’t end after serving as Winnipeg’s mayor. He left Manitoba and relocated to Ontario, where he served as MPP for Toronto Centre from 2010 to 2017. He also served in the provincial Cabinet as Minister of Research and Innovation (2010); Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities (2011–12); Minister of Transportation and Minister of Infrastructure (2013); and Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (2014). He announced his resignation from Cabinet on July 31, 2017, and his resignation from the legislature effective September 1, 2017.

He ran for leadership of the Green Party in 2020 (and placed fourth). This past June, he announced that he will be running for his old job as mayor of Winnipeg in this year’s municipal election.

Throughout his career, Murray has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Prior to winning his 1998 election for mayor, he was a co-founder of Winnipeg’s first HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention clinic. As a city councillor, he fought for recognition of LGBTQ+ celebrations such as Pride.

Murray has previously said that part of the reason he pursued a career in politics was to make a difference for future generations of LGBTQ+ Canadians. When he was the mayor of Winnipeg, he often received phone calls that brought back memories of his own high school days.

“I used to get a lot of calls from parents who had LGBT kids who just wanted to talk about their kids. My staff used to joke that I was like the councillor for parents who had queer teens because I was one of the only resources that people knew about.”

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