F.L. 'Bubba' Copeland

F.L. " Bubba" Copeland Mayor Smiths Station Alabama/Facebook

‘It’s a hobby I do to relieve stress’: Alabama mayor shot themself dead after being outed for dressing as a transgender woman who wrote fanfic

‘That news article read like a political hit piece.’


Stacy Fernandez


Alabama mayor, business owner, and pastor, F.L. “Bubba” Copeland, killed themself Friday after being involuntarily outed as a transgender woman by a local far-right news outlet.

Lee County police were performing a wellness check on Copeland. When they attempted to pull the mayor over, they got out of their truck and shot themself in front of the officers, Sheriff Jay Jones confirmed to WRBL.

Copeland was the mayor of Smiths Station, pastor of First Baptist Church in Phenix City, and owned a small grocery store.

In the days leading up to Copeland’s death, they were at the center of a very public controversy regarding their personal life. Last week, far-right news site 1819 published an article outing that the mayor had online accounts under the name Brittini Blaire Summerlin in which they were seen dressed as a woman.

“That news article read like a political hit piece,” a Facebook commenter wrote.

Since Copeland never publicly came out, the Daily Dot refers to Copeland by the gender-neutral pronoun “they.”

The article included screenshots from Copeland’s now-deleted Instagram and Reddit accounts in which they openly explore their transgender identity, shared trans fiction and erotica they wrote, and allegedly posted trans pornography and memes.

The article included a screenshot in which Copeland refers to themself as a “transitioning transgender curvy girl, that loves smiling, clothes, and shoes!”

In the 1819 article, Copeland shared that their wife knew of their online activities and said it was all a hobby.

“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,” Copeland said. “…It’s just a hobby that I have inside my own home that has not traveled outside of my home.”

Copeland added that what they do in their private life “has nothing to do with what I do in my holy life.”

Copeland told 1819 they intended to serve another term as mayor before moving on to another endeavor.

The news article sparked controversy, with some condemning the mayor while others were empathetic about their inability to live in the world as their authentic self.

“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?” Copeland told 1819.

Former Phenix City School Superintendent Dr. Larry DiChiara took to Facebook to share his support for his friend. He shared that he’d contacted Copeland and offered his “support and encouragement.”

“I am so angry right now and heartbroken. I witnessed a good man be publicly ridiculed and crucified over the last few days…to the point that he just took his own life today,” he wrote in the post.

The post continued:

“I just want to ask you people who thought it humorous to publicly ridicule him, ‘Are you happy now?’ What crime did he commit? Some of you people make me sick. I hope you are really proud. For our brother, F.L. Bubba Copeland, May God bless your soul and forgive those who took pleasure in your suffering. They should all be ashamed!”

Former U.S. Senator from Alabama, Doug Jones, praised Copeland for his work as Mayor, especially when handling a natural disaster a few years back.

“It is sad and disgusting how he was treated by the @1819News for personal decisions however misguided they might have been. We live in a mean, bitter world where the self righteous tend to throw the largest stones and the @1819News is the perfect example,” Jones wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The Daily Dot reached out to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office for comment via email.

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