The Premier of Canada’s Ontario province has thanked a church which she attended whilst coming out for being a place of refuge, and for the “strength” it gave her.

In late January, former cabinet minister Kathleen Wynne, was appointed as Canada’s first openly-gay provincial premier. She was also the first female leader of the most populous Canadian province. 

Talking about the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, Ms Wynne said: “I can remember the feeling of, this is a place that’s going to give me solace and strength.”

The Metropolitan was also the place at which Canada’s first equal marriages were performed.

She went on to say that whilst coming out in the 1990s, she would “sneak” from North Toronto to the church, and that she and her partner Jane Rounthwaite, would attend some services there.

“There was lots of turmoil in that coming out; it was not easy to do that. Jane had known her whole life that she was a lesbian and I had not known until I was 37,” she continued. She also joked that she was a “slow learner.”

Referring to the recent Liberal leadership race, and questions over whether the province was ready for an openly gay leader, she cited a poll which said that most Ontario residents “couldn’t care less whether I’m a lesbian.”

Ms Wynne had been invited to the Sunday service with guest preacher Reverend Gary Paterson, who, similarly to her, was recently elected as the first openly gay moderator of the United Church of Canada.

In December, Ontario became the first province to allow trans people to amend the ‘gender’ section of their birth certificates without having to undergo gender confirmation surgery.