19-year-old gay politician ejected after Grindr nudes leak
A 19-year-old politician has been recalled from office, months after his Grindr nudes leaked.
Voters in Groves, Texas, opted to recall councilman Cross Coburn from office on November 6, just one year after he had first won election to the city council.
The gay lawmaker was humiliated in March 2018 when naked photos he had sent to users on gay hook-up app Grindr were made public, leading to the push to oust him by the public in Groves, which has a population of 15,000.
62 percent of voters in Groves opted to remove Coburn in the recall election, which was sparked by a public petition.
Cross Coburn says he doesn’t regret sending Grindr nudes
Speaking to the New York Times, Coburn said: “I regret that it got out, but I will never regret being human.
“I do not believe that me having consensual conversations with another adult has any merit to how I can perform my duties.”
“It was on a private dating app. I really don’t have anything to apologise for.”
— Cross Coburn
Although he previously apologised for his conduct, he told the newspaper: “At this point I don’t know what I apologised for.
“It was on a private dating app. I really don’t have anything to apologise for. But I was apologising that it was brought up in the first place.”
Coburn is challenging the recall petition against him, alleging that a number of signatures on the petition were forged.
He also alleges that Groves Mayor Brad Bailey and Councilman Kyle Hollier “helped orchestrate” the effort to recall him from office, claiming the nude photos were leaked as part of a push to discredit him.
Chuck Smith of LGBT advocacy group Equality Texas told the newspaper the vote was “sad”, adding : “Someone organised the equivalent of a tar-and-feathering to get him removed from office.”
Cross Coburn fears Grindr nudes were leaked because of homophobic plot
The teenager previously told CBS that the pictures were released because he is a “young gay man”.
“I felt like I was being harassed, discriminated against, ’cause I’m a young gay man on Groves City Council.”
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He added that he had the “freedom of speech and expression” to send nude photos.
At the time of the leak, he said: “I’m sorry if anyone took it the wrong way, but it really was nothing more complex than, it’s just my personal life.
“I don’t see anything wrong with what I did, and I don’t think I should be judged for what happened.”
Kyle Hollier, one of the politicians Coburn alleges worked to oust him, told the New York Times: “The voters of Groves have spoken.”
Mayor Brad Bailey did not respond to requests for comment.