A Georgia state lawmaker has come out as a gay man after being outed in emails to legislators—and accused of misusing his office. Rashad Taylor becomes the first openly gay man and third openly gay or lesbian legislator in Georgia. Taylor is also becomes one of the very few Black openly gay state legislators in the country.
"I am a gay man," said Taylor at a press conference to address the allegations, reports WSB.
[The email was] sent to dozens of current and former lawmakers detailing these allegations. In the letter, Taylor is accused of meeting men and promising them jobs for sex, and has “use comp tickets and state funds to fund his homosexual relationship.” "As a powerful member of your house he is not using his office for the common good of his constituents but his using his office to promote his own homosexual agenda," the letter continues. The email is signed by 'J Callahan, Concerned Citizen of Georgia.'
[T]he lawmaker denied the allegations ... A source in the Georgia House of Representatives [said] the accuser contacted their offices last week requesting information on how to file an ethics complaint, but no ethics complaint has been filed.
The GA Voice reports the email outing was orchestrated by the ex-boyfriend of Taylor's current partner.
Taylor denied those allegations today, but did say the truth is is he is gay. "For some days it may take two days, for some it take two years or 20 years [to come out]," he said. "I serve in public office and try to retain some semblence of a private life. This is a journey I've been on," he said. "i wouldn't want to expedite anyone else's journey. It ought to be a personal decision."
Taylor was flanked by his mother, who hugged him tightly after he spoke to the media. Also with Taylor today as he came out were several family members, State Rep. Alisha Morgan; State Sen. Vincent Fort; Reese McCranie, the openly gay spokesperson for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; Larry Pellegrini, the openly gay executive director of the Georgia Rural Urban Summit; and Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham.
The Democrat was elected in 2008 and represents Atlanta and portions of Fulton County. Taylor is the youngest member of the Georgia General Assembly. He turned 30 years old only two weeks ago.
Rashad Taylor becomes one of only a handful of Black openly LGBT state lawmakers. Connecticut's Jason Bartlett was the very first and served from 2007 to 2011. Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox and North Carolina's Marcus Brandon are the two Black gay male legislators currently serving.
Atlanta has become a nexus for Black LGBT politics. In 2010, the Victory Fund-endorsed Joan P. Garner became the first openly LGBT member of the powerful Fulton County Commission.