Document Type


Publication Date



At the intersection of misogyny and heteronormativity, queer women in Canada face significant systemic barriers in pursuing political leadership, including experiences of harassment and violence. In transgressing gendered leadership norms in the high-stakes and high-visibility terrain of electoral politics, queer women are subject to disproportionate surveillance and discipline under the regulatory power of the heterosexual matrix. In taking up a recent quantitative study by the LGBTQ Victory Institute as well as media coverage of Kathleen Wynne’s leadership as the first openly lesbian and LGBTQ-identifying premier in Canada, this paper argues that in order to meaningfully support queer women to enter the field of electoral politics in Canada, we must move beyond encouraging representation and instead consider how violence against queer women in politics enforces systemic exclusion. This paper offers that understanding the trauma experienced by queer women in politics – both as candidates and elected leaders – is vital for illuminating the structural powers that perpetuate this violence and dismantling the systems that reproduce this harm.