|State Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta) is the first openly gay man to serve in GA legislature|
"I am a gay man," Taylor said at the press conference held today at Georgia Equality's office at the Phillip Rush Center.
Taylor becomes the first openly gay male serving in the Georgia legislature and the third openly gay state lawmaker. State Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates) and State Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) are also openly gay and ran as openly gay when seeking office.
According to the national Victory Fund which works to elect openly gay officials, Taylor is only the sixth openly black LGBT person to serve in a state legislature. State Rep. Bell was the first black lesbian elected to a state legislature in 2009.
Yesterday and in days prior, a man who is the ex-boyfriend of Taylor's partner sent an email to state legislators outing him and alleging Taylor misused his office by promising men jobs in exchange for sex. Taylor denied those allegations today, but did say the truth is is he is gay.
"For some it may take two days, for some it take two years or 20 years [to come out]," he said. "I serve in public office and try to retain some semblance of a private life. This is a journey I've been on," he said. "i wouldn't want to expedite anyone else's journey. It ought to be a personal decision."
Taylor admitted that if the allegations against him had not been made he would not have come out.
"I would not be standing here today," he said, adding he considered ignoring the allegations.
But now was the time to tell the truth, Taylor added.
"I felt like honestly this was it unless I spoke the truth," Taylor said, saying he didn't want someone to feel like they had something "over his head."
He said before today, he could "count on one hand" the people who knew he was gay. Taylor also said that he came out to his mother and family in the past 24 hours. He thanked his mother for his support and she hugged him warmly after he spoke to the media.
"I feel really good. My heart is as ease," he said about coming out publicly. "Tonight's sleep will probably be the best sleep I've had in 12 or 13 years."
Taylor acknowledged that in the African American culture, being gay is a a tough subject to discuss, which played a role in his not coming out publicly before.
When asked about his political future, Taylor said, "I am the same Rashad Taylor that was on the ballot in 2008 and 2010. My positions won't change."