On being a politician’s wife

Published 08, Dec, 2010
Author // Bob Leahy - Publisher

In which Bob Leahy does a Jackie Kennedy - without the pill box hat – and finds out first-hand what it’s like to be the spouse of a politician.

On being a politician’s wife

Meirion taking the oath of office

I think I’ve probably mentioned here before that Meirion, my partner of thirty years, recently ran for a councillor’s position in our municipal elections – and won (*** pumps fist in air like straight guys do***) beating out two straight guys.

Anyway, yesterday was his swearing-in ceremony. I can’t tell you how proud I was of him, dressed in a suit and tie and all - a rare sight indeed - the first gay politician ever elected in our municipality. Meirion chose not to swear on the bible but instead took an oath of affirmation. I was proud of him for that too.

There are, in these early weeks at least, more than a few functions where councillors’ spouses are encouraged to attend. I’ve been to two already. I’m encouraged by how welcoming and inclusive the mayor and other councillors have been towards me. It’s almost uncanny.

Interestingly too, the gay thing never once came up in the election, nor has it since; it was a bit like the elephant in the room, in fact. Until yesterday. Meirion and I had a little chat with the CAO over lunch about how LGBT issues had panned out in the past here, mostly good by the way, and how cultural sensitivity is so important. We got a more than sympathetic ear.

Anyway, so far so good.

Not that this community is 100% lily white. I live in the same municipality, after all, where a Halloween costume party at the Legion was this year won by a couple, one wearing a KKK outfit dragging a guy in black face with a noose around his neck. That caused a stir across the entire country, and beyond.

But that’s history, and an isolated incident.   Rural communities like mine, in fact, often break all stereotypes of how people are supposed to behave. Not just on the gay thing, but on the HIV issue too. I can’t recall one instance of AIDS phobia or stigma, for example, directed at me since we moved here from the city thirteen years ago. And I’m pretty public.

I just must remember not to go dressed as Adolf Hitler next Halloween, even though it might win me a prize or two.

About the Author

Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy - Publisher

Award-winning blogger Bob Leahy first made his social media mark a decade ago on LiveJournal.com where there are still to this day almost 3,000 entries of his available to be read. He was a featured blogger on Ontario’s HIVStigma.com campaign, along with PositiveLite.com founder Brian Finch. He joined PositiveLite.com at its inception in 2009 and became it's Editor a year later.

Born in the UK, Bob’s background is in corporate banking, which he gladly left in 1994, after being diagnosed with HIV the previous year.  He has chaired the board of PARN (Peterborough AIDS Resource Network) and has been an executive board member of both the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) and the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS).  He was inducted in to the Ontario AIDS Network’s Honour Roll in 2005.  Bob is currently a member of Ontario’s GMSH (Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance). He also writes for TheBody.com.

In 2012, Bob was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his work and commitment to HIV/AIDS in Canada.

Bob continues to write for this site while in the Positivelite.Com editor’s seat, with a particular interest  in HIV prevention, theatre and the arts in general. He is accredited media for a number of Toronto theatres. He lives in Warkworth, Ontario with his partner of thirty-two years and three dogs.