A North Carolina lawmaker opened up about his sexuality for the first time publicly in hopes of expressing his moral opposition to the state’s controversial “bathroom bill.”
In an interview with the News & Record of Greensboro, State Rep. Cecil Brockman (D-Guilford) revealed that he’s bisexual and, in doing so, aimed to reassure Tar Heel State residents who identify as LGBTQ that they’ll still have a voice in local government. (You can watch a short video profile of Brockman above.)
Brockman told writer Susan Ladd that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s support of House Bill 2, which prohibits transgender people from using public restrooms and facilities that align with their gender identity, was an impetus for him to come forward in the media.
“I always felt that I tried to stick up for the LGBT community, even when I wasn’t ‘out,’ ” he said. “I want to do more of my part, to be stronger and admit to the world that I’m actually a member of this community as well.”
The 32-year-old said he recently accompanied North Carolina Rep. Chris Sgro (D-Greensboro), who is openly gay, and his partner to a restaurant. A patron approached the men, who were wearing anti-HB 2 buttons, and began berating them with homophobic epithets.
Although Brockman said he could “live in the straight world and not be identified” as bisexual, the incident made him realize what little protection North Carolina’s LGBTQ community had in place, particularly in the wake of HB 2.
“Discriminating against folks in the LGBT community has become legal,” he said. “You should be able to be who you are and love who you are and not be afraid to go out and feel like someone will harass you.”
Ultimately, he said he’s decided to speak out because he wants “young people to know that you can be a member of the LGBT community, and it’s OK.”
He went on to note, “You don’t have to let anyone put you in a box.”
Thanks for speaking out, Cecil! We’re proud to have you on our side.