Candidate for State House District 49 Brandon Thomas Shares His “Coming Out” Story

National Coming Out Day 2020 Featurette

Brandon Thomas

This month’s issue of Out & About Nashville is ALL about politics, so what better way to celebrate National Coming Out Day than to have your favorite openly LGBT politicians spill the tea on how they came out? Get comfy and pour a cup, sis. In this episode, we chat with Democratic candidate for Tennessee State House District 49, Brandon Thomas!


Running a campaign as an openly LGBT person

“It’s been going really good so far, and we’ve had some good conversations with people. Sexual orientation does not come up. I had one door where someone said ‘you know, my partner’s trans’ and we were able to talk about that. People are really concerned about the issues affecting them like schools for example. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Medicaid Expansion and paid family leave, these are things people are telling us they want passed and that’s what they want to talk about.”

Tell us your Coming Out story

“I have kind of a two-pronged coming out story. With my friends, it was kind of obvious, it was like ‘Oh, he’s dating that person? Oh, okay it makes sense now.’ With my mom, it was a lot more of a gradual thing. At first, she was not having it. Over time she realized, ‘this is my son’, and embraced me for who I was. It was a rocky road. I think that the biggest thing a lot of parents think of when they hear that their child is LGBT is that they can’t have grandkids.

“They’ve been fed this narrative that there is only one way to have a family and only one type of family. We have a two year old son, so she’s a grandmother now, and very happy about that. But, even before that, our relationship slowly got better and better. It’s one of those things where you have to give your parents a little benefit of the doubt. They grew up in a time when they were fed that particular type of narrative about folks that look like us.

“That takes a lot to get over. It takes a lot to unlearn. We have to give grace there, definitely, but to a point.”


What’s your advice for people coming out?

“I would encourage people to come out in their own time, definitely. I think that’s the biggest thing. Only you really know when the right time is. You know you, you know your family. Please, do it on your own time, and don’t feel rushed to do it. Take your time with it. I would say to maybe do what I did and come out to your friends first, so you have that freedom. Family is tough.

“But, as gay folks, we can choose our family, and our friends are our family, so I would say maybe go that route first, so you have that support as well when you’re ready to come out to your family.”


What’s your go-to “out and proud” song that really makes you feel empowered?

“Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels” by Todrick Hall




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Brian Sullivan is a reporter for Out & About Nashville. He has served nearly 2 decades in the television industry, with over 20 years experience as a print and broadcast journalist. Sullivan is an Emmy Award Winning producer, writer, lobbyist, activist and marketing strategist. He is active in several campaigns raising awareness in addiction treatment, equality and mental healthcare. He received recognition as a Nashville Emerging Leader of the Year at the NELA Awards. He is an Executive Board Member of the Prevention Alliance of Tennessee, a member of DrugFree Wilco, the Williamson County Anti-Drug Coalition, the Memphis Area Prevention Alliance, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Facing Addiction, Fed Up!, the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Center for Nonprofit Management, Music City Theatre Company, LGBTQI Nashvillians of Faith, Covenant of the Cross Ministries, Human Rights Campaign, HRC Nashville, Team Friendly Tennessee, Tennessee Equality Project, Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, Wilson County Anti-Drug Coalition, National Fraternal Order of Police, the Nashville Filmmakers Guild and is an ordained Minister. Sullivan is a proud donor of the Memphis Hope House, Nashville Cares, Covenant Cupboard Food Pantry, and Second Harvest Food Bank. He has worked extensively on projects with several major networks including Fox News Network, CNN, Time Magazine, Washington Post, New York Times, Inside Edition and Mic.