Over the last few years, a new trend has arisen in legislative representation in the Western Hemisphere: the election to parliaments of out-of-the-closet lesbian, gay, bisexual, Trans*, and queer (LGBTQ) candidates. My objective in this talk is to explore the intersections between representing and being out of the closet. More specifically, I highlight some of the narratives voiced by LGBTQ politicians about how they feel that being out of the closet affects their mandate of political representation and, eventually, reshapes it. As I will show, not only do Canadian LGB legislators deploy a broad array of what I term "representation narratives" in relation to being out of the closet, but they frame them as enriching instead of hardening their representational mandate. Indeed, these politicians illustrate numerous ways in which they imagine that being out of the closet reshapes and empowers their role of representation.
Manon Tremblay is a professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. Her research interests are gender/women in politics, and LGBTQ politics and social activism. Her current research looks at LGBT people elected in Canadian politics. Her writing includes: 100 Questions about Women and Politics (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2018), The Ashgate Research Companion to Lesbian and Gay Activism (co-edited with D. Paternotte, Ashgate, 2015); Stalled. The Representation of Women in Canadian Governments (co-edited with L. Trimble and J. Arscott, UBC Press, 2013); and The Lesbian and Gay Movement and the State. Comparative Insights into a Transformed Relationship (co-edited with D. Paternotte and C. Johnson, Ashgate, 2011).