The small community of Smiths Station, Alabama, was left in shock when their beloved mayor and respected pastor, F.L. “Bubba” Copeland, tragically ended his life on November 3. The incident occurred just days after Copeland was publicly exposed as transgender, living a secret life online under the pseudonym Brittini Blaire Summerlin.
Copeland, a devoted family man and father of three, took his life in front of local law enforcement officers who were carrying out a welfare check. The 62-year-old had been followed by authorities after concerns were raised about his well-being.
The revelation of Copeland’s transgender identity came to light through an article published by 1819 News, a platform previously associated with the conservative think tank, the Alabama Policy Institute. The article detailed Copeland’s online presence, where he presented himself as a transitioning transgender woman who enjoyed fashion and self-expression.
According to the report, Copeland’s social media profiles depicted him wearing women’s clothing, including intimate apparel, and he openly discussed hormone replacement therapy. Additionally, he shared transgender pornography and his own works of transgender fiction and erotica.
Despite the exposé, Copeland maintained that his online persona was simply a “hobby” limited to his private life. He emphasized that it did not affect his roles as mayor or pastor. Copeland addressed the controversy during a sermon at the First Baptist Church of Phenix City and expressed regret for any embarrassment caused.
The loss of Copeland is a devastating blow to his community, which he had led with dedication and compassion. In 2019, he played a crucial role in the town’s recovery from a devastating tornado, even meeting with then-President Donald Trump to discuss the aftermath. Tragically, Copeland’s own words about the prevalence of suicide in his community now resonate more deeply following his untimely death.