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