Mayor and pastor Bubba Copeland dies after outing

bubba copeland
Image: Screen Capture 1819news

By all accounts, F.L. Bubba Copeland was a nice guy. That didn’t stop a conservative news platform outing the small-town Mayor and pastor as a secret cross-dresser, leading to his death by suicide.

NB: Bubba Copeland referred to himself as a ‘transgender curvy girl’ in an online profile. However, he subsequently described the character as fictional and a  fantasy — “a character I’m playing.”

Transgender or not, Bubba was a human being and deserved better.

F.L. Bubba Copeland served as Mayor of  Smiths Station, Alabama — population, 6756. He was also pastor of First Baptist Church in nearby Phenix City.

However, unlike many Baptist pastors in the US, there’s no evidence Bubba Copeland demonised LGBTQIA+ people. None of the hateful rhetoric we’ve become so accustomed to.

But Bubba Copeland had a secret. Nothing illegal. Just he liked to crossdress at home. He sometimes photographed himself and posted the pics to social media. Sometimes he wore identical clothing to items his wife wore in social media postings.

A local right-wing news platform noticed.

A character I’m playing

When a reporter contacted Bubba, he made no attempt to deny that the person in the social media postings was him. He did however plead for the right to privacy.

“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… something that I don’t intermingle with the other. It’s private. I don’t do it in the public or anything like that. … It’s just a fictional character I made up to relieve stress.”

The news platform ran with the story despite Bubba Copeland breaking no laws and his private behaviour not affecting his public office.

Addressing his church congregation, Bubba vowed not to allow the exposure to change him.

“The article is not who or what I am… I apologize for any embarrassment caused by my private and personal life that has become public. This will not cause my life to change. This will not waiver my devotion to my family, serving my city, serving my church.”

However, Friday night he shot himself after police performing a welfare check began a slow pursuit of his car.

F.L. Bubba Copeland. RIP

If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.


‘Grubby’: Rebel Wilson reveals sad truth about ‘outing’ ordeal.

Outing Rebel: Sydney Morning Herald parties like it’s 1978.

Liberace triumphant after newspaper ‘outing’.

Newspaper apologises for outing Bendigo trans man 143 years ago.

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at

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1 Comment

  1. Robyn
    6 November 2023

    Very, very sad. Why must people judge? Let’s all love and coexist.

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