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Pulse Survivor Brandon Wolf Says Andrew Gillum's Coming Out Could Inspire Other LGBTQ People To Do the Same

Photo by Robert Bartlett. Brandon Wolf, orlandoweekly.com
Photo by Robert Bartlett. Brandon Wolf, orlandoweekly.com

Equality Florida spokesperson Brandon Wolf says Andrew Gillum’s coming out is a significant moment for LGBTQ Floridians. The former gubernatorial candidate told talk show host Tamron Hall in an interview that aired today that he identifies as bisexual. 

Wolf talked to 90.7 WMFE about the interview.  

Read the full conversation.

What do you think it meant for folks here in Central Florida in particular, to hear that news, you know, young people of color and just people who might want to do the same thing but feel like they can't?

Yeah, I think it's important to put it into context about what we know about being LGBTQ, and specifically about being LGBTQ in the workplace.

The really stark and challenging reality is that almost 50 percent of LGBTQ people are not out in their workplace. And that tells you that we have a pervasive and continual environment of bigotry that leaves people feeling afraid to be their entire selves in the workplace.

And that's why representation is so important-moments like this, with Andrew Gillum coming out and sharing his truth so publicly gives people the strength and the courage that they need to go out and do the same thing if it's safe. So, representation can't be overstated. The importance of representation can't be overstated.

I know that there are a lot of, you know, specifically LGBTQ people of color, specifically young, Black, queer people today that are feeling more courageous, more inspired to live authentically because of Andrew's story.

What do you want to see him do next? Now that he has the platform. What do you want to see him tackle first?

I'm confident that whatever he does next is going to continue to uplift and inspire LGBTQ people.

My hope is that what other people glean from his story and his family's story is that LGBTQ Americans are just like everybody else. We go through the same challenges as everyone else. We have, you know, the same dinner table conversations as everyone else. And so, as he begins to live in this authentic fashion, and people know more about him personally and more about his family, I hope that they see Andrew Gillum not just as a bisexual Black man, but as all parts of his life identities, right?

And I hope that they see him as an American who's facing the same challenges, struggles, highs and lows as all the rest of us.

He tweeted out this interesting quote by Glennon Doyle Melton a few days ago, 'people who need help sometimes look a lot like people who don't need help at all'. And then he said, 'we should all try to be a little more kind.'

Yeah, well, I think, you know, I don't remember who said it, but they said to always check on the strong ones, right. And I can relate to that really deeply and personally because we put on faces, we put on fronts for people to reassure them that we're fine that we're doing okay, that we're handling the world just fine.

And sometimes we're really not and so I think you know, what Andrew's getting at and what the lesson should be for all of us is, it doesn't matter whether someone seems strong on the outside or not. They need you to check in on them. They need a support system, they need their family, they need their friends. They need their communities.

Oftentimes we put public servants and elected officials in a place where we believe that you know, they are perfection personified that they're always strong. They never face challenges that they can go it alone.

And the reality is that Andrew Gillum is a person just like all the rest of us. And you know, he faces again the same highs and lows, challenges and successes that all of us do. And so he is a testament I think, a reminder that every single one of us is responsible to check in on the ones we care about, even if they seem like they're the strong ones.

If you'd like to listen to the full conversation, click on the clip at the top of the page. 

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.