Atlanta lawmaker steps out of the closet

State Rep. Rashad Taylor, D-Atlanta, has just become the first self-acknowledged gay man in the state Legislature. He stepped out of the closet during a morning press conference.

Georgia Voice has posted the video:

From my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin:

Taylor, in a news conference at the offices of Georgia Equality, said he felt compelled to make the announcement after an e-mail was circulated to state lawmakers this week accusing Taylor of being gay and of using his position in the Legislature to solicit sexual relationships.

Taylor denied the allegations of improper conduct. The author of the e-mail, who signed his name as “J. Callahan,” hung up on a reporter from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and would not provide proof of his claims. Callahan had been instructed by state officials on how to file an official ethics complaint against Taylor, but no complaint has been filed, House Ethics Committee Chairman Joe Wilkinson, R-Sandy Springs, said.

Taylor said that the man who sent the e-mail is the former partner of the person Taylor is now dating.
“Although this is not the time or the way that I wanted to come out, I feel actually very lucky, thanks to all the support I’ve received,” Taylor said, surrounded by fellow lawmakers, friends and family. “As a black man, it can be a struggle to find acceptance within the community and at times with myself as well. I’m proud of the man my mother has raised, and I make no apologies for who I am.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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224 comments Add your comment

Devil's Advocate

May 27th, 2011
12:50 pm

whygeorgia

May 27th, 2011
12:53 pm

Why does the headline use the word “admits” like he has committed a crime???

LadyinRed

May 27th, 2011
12:54 pm

…and???? so what?

Sandra

May 27th, 2011
12:55 pm

Nathan Deal

May 27th, 2011
12:56 pm

And I am a poor businessman, no news here. (But congrats to you, Mr. Taylor for your courage)

DKNATL

May 27th, 2011
12:57 pm

And an email had to be circulated to confirm this? PUUUHHHHLLLEEAAASSSEEE. Atlanta Fire Department couldn’t put him out!

green green

May 27th, 2011
12:59 pm

“self-acknowledged”? Are there non-self-acknowledged closet cases at the capitol?

Atlanta Shaniqua

May 27th, 2011
12:59 pm

Who cares? Someday people won’t have to describe their sexual orientation at all.

really??!!

May 27th, 2011
1:01 pm

YOU CALLED A PRESS CONFERENCE FOR THIS??!! EVEN WORSE, THE AJC PRINTED THIS AS A “NEWS” STORY…

Poleesemenses

May 27th, 2011
1:04 pm

Aks him why.

well'swell

May 27th, 2011
1:06 pm

And we are supposed to do WHAT after this “revelation” ?? Oh, I forgot you wanna just “be” and have the world just stay out of your bedroom…that is of course AFTER you have just flung open the doors and sucked it in. (Maybe there is a better way to put that..)

**crickets**

BJE

May 27th, 2011
1:07 pm

I agree with “whygeorgia.” The word “admit” is typically associated with the word “guilt.” “Discloses” may have worked better here.

Elliot Garcia

May 27th, 2011
1:07 pm

I like to do it while my girl wears cowboy boots and nothing else….nobody cares!!

BillS

May 27th, 2011
1:07 pm

This sort of thing still qualifies as a news story? He’s gay, fine. My only concern is what kind of lawmaker is he?

John

May 27th, 2011
1:08 pm

“Taylor, who denied the allegation for a long time…”

Hiding it for a long time suggests he was ashamed that he was doing something wrong. No problem whatsoever with the guy’s lifestyle, but it just detracts a bit from the “courage” theme that he was deceitful about it.

Cissy

May 27th, 2011
1:09 pm

None of our business. Shame on the puerile e-mail circulator. All I care about: Is the man a competent legislator?
Both my boys have gay teachers at their private schools. Every single one of the teachers is competent, compassionate, and popular with the kids, who have declared sexual preference to be a NON-ISSUE.

Will

May 27th, 2011
1:10 pm

Welcome to my club.
Signed Bishop

Momania Hyperbole

May 27th, 2011
1:11 pm

This is not right. They need to do something about that.

Just Me

May 27th, 2011
1:13 pm

Just another politician with little integrity, out for what he can get, while he can get it. So what else is new? I don’t care who you choose to sleep with, or what you do behind closed doors, as long as you and your partner of choice are consenting adults. I do care what you do with the office you are elected to, and what you do with your responsibilities to the general public.

Old Violin

May 27th, 2011
1:14 pm

A persons sexual orientation is their own business as long as it doesn’t effect the work they do or their relationship with fellow employees, but as an elected official I think he has to be honest about it because it is always something that can be used against him/her ! Is this right ? Don’t know ! But I would choose to be up front with it to begin with ! I’m straight, but not homophobic !

Annette

May 27th, 2011
1:15 pm

Big fat hairy deal! And this is news, WHY? What century are we living in? This is ATLANTA, the gay mecca. Ya’ll need to find some real news to report! Seriously!!!

Meh...

May 27th, 2011
1:15 pm

@well’swell With all the homophobic bullying and suicides, people need to have it shoved in their faces that we’re people from all walks of life and backgrounds ourselves. If not to dispell the ignorance of the parents that teach these things to children, to tell those who are abused that they can still make their dreams come true, regardless of who they like in their bed.

The day you stop teaching your children to feel better about themselves by abusing and driving others to suicide over something as silly as who they feel sexually attracted to or the color of their skin is the day we’ll stop “revealing” our sexual preferences at press conferences.

OLARA

May 27th, 2011
1:15 pm

Really! OMG…seriously do Gay folks need to announce they are gay. Who cares. I think us straight folks should make news by announcing our straightness!

The fact is...

May 27th, 2011
1:15 pm

this is not news.

Jamie B

May 27th, 2011
1:16 pm

Hey everybody!!! I’m heterosexual!!!!

Mecah

May 27th, 2011
1:17 pm

That is his business not mine or anyone else’s. If more of us started minding our own business and lived our own lives we could probably solve some real problems around the state (i.e. mass transportation, economy, jobless rate, helping the poor).

Lum

May 27th, 2011
1:17 pm

Why is this even necessary? It isn’t illegal to be a homosexual; it isn’t even very interesting anymore.

Simple Jack

May 27th, 2011
1:20 pm

And in other news of the day, “Fire is Hot”.

For Realz??? He had to tell us??? Hint: Actions speak (and especially in his case) louder than words.

Next week, several congressmen will announce they are afro-americans…. C’mon, give us some real newz.

waiting on the news

May 27th, 2011
1:20 pm

Enter your comments here
Okay, now on with the news. This is not news worthy. So what. He joins millions of others and trillions of us don’t care. Next time a news conference is called let it be about jobs and gas going down. Then perhaps we will get the gist of what news really is.

Bob

May 27th, 2011
1:21 pm

This is the year 2011, this is not news, nor is it newsworthy. Shame on you AJC.

JRHD

May 27th, 2011
1:21 pm

I am an UBER conservative, former Marine (couldn’t guess by the handle could you?) and guess what? I don’t care that you are gay Mr. Taylor. Now, go do your job.

Andre

May 27th, 2011
1:23 pm

I knew it, down low brother. Just wait till I tell the folks at Mount Sinai over in Austell. Oh lord, they going to call a prayer vigil.

Tanya

May 27th, 2011
1:24 pm

I always thought somethings up way he walk around with those limp wrists looking like a T-Rex. My friend say, oh hes just metro, uh huh, yeah, right.

Todd

May 27th, 2011
1:24 pm

Couldn’t have used the word “announces?” Shall we find him guilty after his admission?

Jack

May 27th, 2011
1:24 pm

If sexual preference has been declared a NON-ISSUE by our kids, then I think we are in trouble.

Ten Foot Pole

May 27th, 2011
1:26 pm

In other startling news, “Amy Winehouse checks into treatment program”.

Drew

May 27th, 2011
1:26 pm

We live in Atlanta. Homosexuals are everywhere. Another man coming out of the closet is not newsworthy, even if he is a state legislator. Next story please….

Ghostrider

May 27th, 2011
1:26 pm

Anddddddd …… who gives a rats azz, as long as he does his job.

Wow, really?

May 27th, 2011
1:28 pm

In comment to those speaking about the word “Admit”. It is used because he himself “Denied” it for a long time according to the story. Once you have denied something, the only way to “Disclose” it is to “Admit” it.

Dave

May 27th, 2011
1:28 pm

First of all, for those who say this is no big deal, why does he have to come out, apparently you missed the part about an email circulating attempting to harass and intimidate him in part due to his sexual orientation. If it really weren’t that big of a deal, why is someone trying to harass and intimidate him?

While this shouldn’t be a big deal, it is due to the email. The harassment and intimidation appears to have prevented him from performing his job. Now that he is “out” perhaps he will be able to perform the job better.

sam

May 27th, 2011
1:28 pm

good, first step is to admit it. Next, he needs to learn how to face it and defeat it in his life. being gay is not a good thing but its nothing to be ashamed of as long as he is doing something about it.

terry

May 27th, 2011
1:29 pm

Hey Rashad,
I don’t care about your personal life, that doesn’t effect me. You know what does effect me. Your political ideology.
How about doing something positive by spending less of our tax money & lower our property taxes. Obvious we aren’t getting the benefit of the high taxes w/ our pitiful school system.
How about making our state competitive & remove the state income tax.

KA

May 27th, 2011
1:29 pm

I agree with the other “who cares, and why is this news” comments.

Newsflash

May 27th, 2011
1:30 pm

I’m not gay and no one cares about that either. Why do you consider this news?

Hayde

May 27th, 2011
1:31 pm

This is news why??? There are gay people all around us. The are our friends, our family, our coworkers. The world does not stop because you are gay. I am happy for you. Now, can we get back to the business of government – sheesh!!!

JEWFISH

May 27th, 2011
1:31 pm

WOW….Its been reported that atlanta has taken over the gayest city in america title and from the looks of most of these comments i would now agree. This guy is an obomination and should be able to sit in any position of power….wake up sanfranlanta and get these scurges away from your children before its to late.

shelley wynter

May 27th, 2011
1:31 pm

It is not called coming out the closet when you are accused of wrong doing its called being caught.

Flying Tigers

May 27th, 2011
1:31 pm

Jack you are right, we are in BIG trouble, but the left and libs would tell you we are in trouble because we try to raise our children to reflect what the bible teaches and we are wrong for that…yes Jack we are in bigger trouble than you think buddy and all the people with “alternative” lifestyles are always right, if you don’t beleive me just ask one of them.

KSanders

May 27th, 2011
1:31 pm

@Tanya – LMAO, you talking about those T-Rex limp wrists, ooohh, you should be shamed. Funny though.

dmr

May 27th, 2011
1:32 pm

If it somehow is a weight off his shoulders from a personal standpoint to make his personal life public, then good for him. Fact is, the personal life of my law makers is not an issue unless their actions are illegal in some way. I’ll raise my kids, go to work, deal with my family and finances, the same way I did before this revelation hit the internet. All anyone should care about is that our lawmakers, white, black, red, brown, male, female, gay, straight, or whatever are simply honest and do the best they can for the community at large.

So when I say I disagree with a politician on something, rest assured it is about policy and its influence on the Community…nothing more.