PJM reported state Rep. Patricia Todd, the legislature’s only avowed lesbian, warned she’d start outing closeted gay lawmakers who voted against legalizing LGBT marriage back in 2015.
Three years later, the Democrat did it. Todd said she knows of a fellow lesbian state official, a Republican, hiding in a closet: none other than Gov. Kay Ivey.
And that’s cost Todd a job with a gay-rights organization.
“Will someone out her for God’s sake…I have heard for years that she is gay and moved her girlfriend out of her house when she became Gov. I am sick of closeted elected officials,”
Metro Weekly reported Todd wrote, referring to Ivey, on Facebook and Twitter.
Why would Todd say such a thing?
She was upset by Ivey’s response to evangelist Scott Dawson’s complaint about state money going to Free2Be, an LGBTQ-rights organization in Alabama.
“Let me be clear. The Ivey administration has betrayed Alabama values by giving nearly one million dollars of taxpayer dollars to Free2Be, an activist organization which promotes transgenderism and alternate lifestyles to Alabama’s children,” Dawson said.
Ivey called the charge leveled by Dawson, who is running against her in the June 5 GOP primary, “nonsense.”
“The funding is federal funding. It’s been going on since 2014. There are no Alabama tax dollars involved,” Ivey said.
Ivey also said she didn’t agree with “the agenda or the values of that (Free2Be) organization.”
That lit Todd’s fuse and she “outed” Alabama’s governor.
Ivey didn’t waste any words refuting the accusation that she’s gay. Ivey, who became governor after Robert Bentley resigned as the result of a sex scandal, called Todd’s accusation “beyond disgraceful.”
“It’s a disgusting lie being pushed by a paid left-wing liberal political operative,” Ivey said in a statement. “There is absolutely no truth to it. It’s false. It’s wrong. It’s a bald-faced lie.”
“These attacks are malicious or ignorant or both — they represent everything that’s wrong with politics today,” Ivey concluded.
Fast-forward a couple of days, and Todd was willing to admit her tweet about Ivey’s sexual orientation might have been “inappropriate.” But Todd was not about to issue an apology.
“What I might apologize for [is] the inappropriate way I said what I said, but I think she can take the heat,” Todd said during an appearance on the “Matt and Auntie Show” on Talk 99.5 in Birmingham. “I would apologize that I framed my message wrong and that I wish I had addressed the issue of her disparaging remarks versus trying to out her.”
Todd also admitted she had no evidence to back up the change that Ivey is a lesbian.
“I would never out an individual, but I have … witnessed some conservative Christians who talk about their faith all the time and then vote against my interest at the same time they have skeletons in their own closets, and that’s frustrating,” she said on the “Matt and Auntie” show. “My focus should have been her remarks about the organization. Unfortunately, I reacted in a moment of anger, frustration, and haste and I have to live with the consequences of that action, and I will.”
And consequences there were.
Todd was set to move into the executive director’s office of One Orlando Alliance. That’s a nonprofit LGBTQ organization established after the Pulse nightclub mass murder. Now, she has to look for another job.
“The Board affirms that Ms. Todd’s recent comments are not aligned with the values of One Orlando Alliance. We strongly believe that coming out is a personal choice and we do not support involuntarily outing,” said Jennifer Foster, chairwoman of the One Orlando board of directors, in a statement.
“This has been a challenging situation. While Ms. Todd has a well-established record of outstanding service to the community, her lapse in judgment has led us to end our relationship with her,” Foster also said.
Christopher J. Cuevas, who represents QLatinx — a One Orlando Alliance member organization – was less charitable. He said what Todd did to Ivey was “weaponizing queerness, a violation of the sacred rite that we as queer people undergo in our journey of self-discovery.”
“It is a form of psychic and emotional violence; a violence that robs one of their ability to self-actualize and manifest their truth,” Cuevas added.
Tommy Battle, the mayor of Huntsville and another Republican candidate for governor, said he’d like to get back to talking about “our great state of Alabama” instead of the sexual orientation of the state’s chief executive.
“I decided to run for governor of the state of Alabama because I thought we could do better. I believe that with the right leadership, we can implement a vision and even develop a plan that makes Alabama a better place,” Battle said.
Okay. But is Kay Ivey gay?
The “Matt and Auntie” radio show’s hosts wanted to know. They pressed Todd on whether she believed Ivey was gay. The state representative refused to answer the question because she doubts Ivey thinks of herself as being a lesbian.
But then again, Todd said, “There’s a lot of men who have sex with men who don’t identify as gay.”