Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum came out as bisexual Monday in an interview with broadcaster Tamron Hall.
“You put it out there whether or not I identify as gay, and the answer is I don’t identify as gay, but I do identify as bisexual,” Gillum told Hall.
It’s the first time the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor in Florida has spoken publicly about his sexuality.
“Coming out as bi+ looks different for every person,” tweeted Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ civil rights group. “No matter the circumstances, all people deserve respect. @AndrewGillum sharing his story will no doubt help others who may be struggling with coming out on their own terms.”
Gillum’s supporters celebrated his decision on social media.
Gillum’s conversation with Hall on her new syndicated talk show marks his first sit-down interview since he was found inebriated in a Miami Beach hotel room in March with a man who had reportedly overdosed. A photo of Gillum unconscious at the scene was leaked. Gillum, who was not charged in the incident, spoke about the event that derailed his once-promising political career. He also opened up about his struggles with mental health and alcohol abuse after losing the 2018 governor’s race to Republican Ron DeSantis by less than 35,000 votes (less than half a percentage point).
“When that photo came out, I didn’t recognize the person on the floor,” Gillum told Hall. “That was not anything more than a person being at their most vulnerable state. Unconscious, having given no consent and someone decided to use a moment where I was literally laying in my own vomit.”
He said that he checked into a rehabilitation center to be treated for alcoholism and depression following the incident. He credits therapy and his wife for helping him get through the fallout.
“I’m still here by the grace of God,” he said. “So much of my recovery has been about trying to get over shame.”