"Are you happy now?": Alabama mayor dies by suicide after being outed as transgender

F.L. “Bubba” Copeland, who also served as a community pastor, was outed involuntarily by a conservative news blog

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published November 4, 2023 11:15AM (EDT)

State Capitol Building, Alabama. (RiverNorthPhotography/GettyImages)
State Capitol Building, Alabama. (RiverNorthPhotography/GettyImages)

F.L. “Bubba” Copeland — mayor of Smiths Station, Alabama and pastor of First Baptist Church in Phenix City — was found dead on Friday evening from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after being involuntarily outed as a transgender woman by a local conservative news blog.

According to The Advocate, using information sourced from WRBL, "deputies responded to a request for a welfare check on Copeland, spotting them driving their truck on a county road near their grocery store. Upon attempting to pull Copeland over, they stopped, exited their truck, and fatally shot themself."

Copeland had been struggling after Alabama blog 1819 News reported on Wednesday that they "had been engaging in explicit online activities, allegedly posting pornography, memes, and photos of themself in women’s clothing online under the pseudonym 'Brittini Blaire Summerlin,' per The Advocate's coverage, adding that the blog "shared screenshots from Copeland’s now-deleted Instagram and Reddit accounts where they openly explored their transgender identity," reportedly discussing hormone replacement therapy in some of their posts, and sharing transgender-specific fiction and erotica that they authored.

One of Copeland’s friends, former Phenix City School Superintendent Larry DiChiara, commented on the tragedy via a statement to Facebook, writing, “Are you happy now? What crime did [they] commit? Some of you people make me sick. I hope you are really proud.”


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