An Alabama pastor died by suicide last week after photos were revealed that showed his cross-dressing lifestyle.
FL "Bubba" Copeland, 49, was the pastor of First Baptist Church in Phenix City and also served as the mayor of Smiths Station.
Alabama pastor, mayor kills himself after cross-dressing photos emerge https://t.co/8FnL35nPsl
— Fox News (@FoxNews) November 10, 2023
"1819 News revealed his secret life online as a 'transgender curvy girl.' Two days later, Copeland shot himself in front of deputies after they pulled him over to do a welfare check, according to the Lee County Sheriff's Office," Fox News reported.
"He exited the vehicle, produced a handgun, and took his own life," the sheriff’s office said.
The apparent suicide of an Alabama pastor and mayor last week underscores the potential dangers of outing, or revealing a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity against their will. https://t.co/dPSghwN1rx
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 7, 2023
"1819 News, the conservative website that published photos of Copeland’s online profiles, described his activity as a 'secret life.' Among the social media photos the outlet shared were revealing images that appeared to show Copeland wearing women’s underwear," NBC News reported.
"In a short article about Copeland’s death, 1819 News referenced its Nov. 1 and Nov. 3 articles, saying Copeland had been the subject of previous stories on the site regarding 'his sexually explicit behavior' while serving as a mayor and a pastor," it continued.
The shocking account has led to much controversy over the situation in the pastor's hometown and among the LGBTQ community.
Some place blame on the outlet that outed the pastor, while others are simply left in shock over the secret life of the small-town leader.
The crisis has also led to a reminder of the need for those considering self-harm to reach out for help, noting the importance of intervention to save life from suicide.
The pastor's loss is a tragic loss to his family and community, leaving behind grief and many questions following his loss.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or chat live at 988lifeline.org. You can also visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional support.