Florida politician Shevrin Jones comes out as gay
An elected state representative has come out as gay almost six years after he was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives.
Shevrin Jones told the Miami Herald that he has known he was gay since he was in kindergarten, but he only opened up about his sexuality around five years ago when he decided to tell his family.
Jones decided to start living his truth “just a little bit more” after his loving older brother died at just 34 years old.
He came out by allowing Equality Florida’s political director to include him in a list of endorsements of openly gay candidates, saying he was initially unsure if it would be the best “coming-out party” before deciding to go ahead.
His sexuality wasn’t entirely a secret – he had told some colleagues that he was gay when he was going through his divorce from his wife.
Since then, friends and colleagues have gotten to know his partner, who he now lives with in Hollywood.
Jones married at 26 and got divorced at 31, three years ago, after coming out as gay to those close to him.
A number of openly gay candidates have broken into Florida’s state Legislature in recent years. David Richardson and Joe Saunders were both elected in 2012, followed by Carlos Guillermo-Smith in 2016.
Cedric McMinn and Paulette Armstead could become the first openly gay African-Americans elected to the Legislature later this year.
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McMinn recently said in an interview with the Miami Herald that he doesn’t see being openly gay as a political risk, saying: “I think it’s a very small minority that thinks like that.”
There have been gains across the US for LGBT+ politicians in recent months. Virginia elected its first ever transgender candidate, Danica Roem, to the state legislature last November.
In other quarters, transgender candidate Christine Hallquist recently won the Democratic nomination for Governor of Vermont, becoming the first trans person to win a nomination for major political office.