Missouri Republican Lawmaker comes out, denounces ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill
A Republican legislator in the US state of Missouri has held a press conference where he first came out as gay, and then proceeded to denounce the infamous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
His press conference comes just a day after Tennessee’s version of the bill, it was announced, would be dropped.
Zachary Wyatt, in coming out, said that being gay ‘has never been a Democrat or [a] Republican issue, and it never should be.’ His press conference was supported by the appearance of five other Republicans, and several Democrats.
Mr Wyatt, who has served in the US Air Force, also added that he regrets not coming forward earlier, but felt he had to in order to publicly draw attention to homophobic discrimination and bullying at schools.
The controversial bill, which would ban discussion of issues concerning sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools, is sponsored by another Republican, Steve Cookson. He had said in a statement last week that sexual orientation ought to be discussed at home, and not in a school setting, wherein the primary focus, he argued, ought to be on academics.
Admitting to his own experience of bullying at high school, Mr Wyatt, 27, said that children cannot always lean on their parents for support. “I think [children] should be in a safe setting where they’d be able to speak about and hopefully not be bullied for it,” he said.