An Alabama politician and preacher has reportedly committed suicide after being outed for having an “alter ego” as Brittini Blaire Summerlin, a “transgender curvy girl.”
F.L.”Bubba” Copeland, 62, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police were called to perform a welfare check on Copeland on Friday when he shot himself right in front of the officers who went to check on him.
Copeland was a beloved member of his community, serving as a pastor at First Baptist Church in Phenix City. As mayor, he led Smiths Station through a tornado that devastated the community in March 2019.
1819 News published a story on November 1 about the “secret life” of the pastor, including images of Copeland dressed as a woman. The screenshots of Copeland’s alter ego’s Instagram account described her as a “transitioning transgender curvy girl, that loves smiling, clothes, and shoes!”
Copeland told 1819 that “Brittini Blaire Summerlin” was a harmless “hobby” that he only engaged in private.
“Just my wife knows about it. It’s a hobby I do to relieve stress. I have a lot of stress, and I’m not medically transitioning. It’s just a bit of a character I’m playing…I don’t go out and seek solicitation or anything like that,” he said.
“What I do in private life has nothing to do with what I do in my holy life,” Copeland added. “Does this have any effect on me being mayor, that I sometimes put on a dress or sometimes put on makeup? Does that have anything to do whatsoever with me being mayor or being a pastor?”
The New York Post reports that Copeland addressed the exposé during a sermon on Wednesday night before he died.
“I have been an object of an internet attack,” Copeland stated. “An article that was written about my capacity as the mayor [and] capacity as a pastor. The article is not who or what I am.”
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.