A Republican representative in the Missouri House of Representatives has come out as gay to his colleagues and the world in a speech in the State Capitol building.
Rep. Zach Wyatt (27) opened up about his sexuality and condemned the state’s pending “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
“I will not lie to myself anymore about my own sexuality. It has probably been the hardest thing to come to terms with,” he said.
“I have always ignored it, didn’t even think about it, or want to talk about it. I have not been immune to it. I hear the comments, usually snide ones, about me. I’m not the first or last Republican to come out. I’ve just gotten tired of the bigotry being shown from both sides of the aisle on gay issues.”
Wyatt urged his Republican colleagues to abandon the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would bar teachers from discussing homosexuality with their students, despite an epidemic of anti-gay bullying in American schools.
He also expressed his regret at having in the past followed the Republican Party’s position on certain issues instead of leading and standing by his own views.
This included having not spoken about his own experiences of being bullied in an interview on the issue of school bullying as well has having voted no for an anti-discrimination bill.
“Today I ask you to stand with me as a proud Republican, a proud veteran, and a proud gay man who wants to protect all kids, addressing bullying in our schools,” Wyatt said.
“If I can save one kid from hurting themselves or taking their life, then I have done my job as a representative.”
Wyatt, who served in the U.S. Air Force, announced earlier this year that he planned to leave politics to study marine biology at the University of Hawaii.