Atlanta City Council member Matt Westmoreland comes out as LGBTQ

Add this share
When swearing in of a new administration happens in the City of Atlanta on Monday, an unexpected fourth member of the newly elected City Council takes the oath. Post 2 At Large member Matt Westmoreland raises his right hand for the third time, but the first time as an openly LGBTQ public servant.

Westmoreland made the announcement on social media late Sunday night.

“Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll swear an oath for a third time to serve the City of Atlanta and all her residents. And I’ll do so as a proud member of our LGBTQ+ community,” Westmoreland’s string of seven tweets began.

The decision didn’t come easily for Westmoreland, who joins a contingent of what is already Atlanta’s largest number of LGBTQ city council members at one time. District 5’s Liliana Bakhtiari, Alex Wan in District 6, and Keisha Waites in the At Large-3 seat will also take their oaths of office on Monday.

“I wrestled with the decision to post this note: The fact that the content is so personal,” the missive continued. “The desire to live in a world where such pronouncements aren’t necessary. The fear that who I chose to be with would change how people view me or my public service.”

“But the former teacher and school board member in me has been thinking about our students who have ever struggled to accept themselves for who they are,” Westmoreland added. “And, frankly, has found inspiration in our students who allow their authentic selves to shine brightly for all to see.”

In the end, I wanted to be true to myself – and to you.

Read the full thread here.

Westmoreland’s history on LGBTQ issues while in office includes Georgia Equality’s full endorsement in November. Project Q profiled him as an ally in 2017 as he set off to replace Mary Norwood in the AtLarge-2 position.

A native Atlantan and graduate of Grady High, Westmoreland also sat on the inclusive task force deciding the fate of the city jail, and he pressed for justice in Atlanta’s beleaguered HIV housing program. He has also attended gay rights galas and ridden in the Atlanta Pride parade.

Making history

The four out council members have each made history in one way or another with their elections. That’s in addition to being the largest LGBTQ contingent to sit on the council at the same time. Lesbian members Cathy Woolard and Anne Favre served together in the early 2000s.

Bakhtiari is the first openly LGBTQ Muslim elected official in Georgia history. Waites is the first Black lesbian on the council, after being the second Black LGBTQ woman elected to the Georgia state legislature in 2012.

In 2010, Wan became the first Asian American and first openly gay male member of the council. He served two terms before losing a race for council president in 2017. Westmoreland is now the first gay male council member to serve in a citywide elected position. Woolard was the first lesbian to do so when she was voted council president in 2002.

We reached out to Westmoreland and will update this story if he responds.

THE LATEST

Gay Falcons cheerleader says ‘I will’ to gametime marriage proposal

LGBT Atlanta shows out in unexpected ways sometimes. That certainly goes for one of the NFL’s only out gay cheerleaders, Ben Ajani. But even...

The best LGBTQ things to do in Atlanta this weekend

Gay Atlanta’s calendar stays busy for “Winter Pride,” plus the closing of an institution, the return of a British legend, local revelry and more. Keep...

Everton Blair would be Georgia’s first gay schools superintendent

After becoming the youngest, first Black and first gay school board member in Gwinnett County, Everton Blair topped it to become chair. On Friday,...

Photos: Déjà Vu doubles patrons pleasure at BJ Roosters

Boys on the bar is the mantra at Atlanta gay club BJ’s. The New Year’s Eve bump and grind gave revelers even more for...

The best LGBTQ things to do in Atlanta this weekend

Local representation, international sensations, queens of comedy and the end of an era. Just your average ordinary packed schedule of gay events in Atlanta...
17,446FansLike
7,001FollowersFollow
7,682FollowersFollow

PHOTO GALLERIES