F.L. “Bubba” Copeland, the mayor of Smiths Station, Alabama, and the pastor at First Baptist Church in Phenix City, tragically took his own life on Friday, following a controversial article published by the conservative news blog 1819 News. The blog story revealed Copeland’s involvement in activities related to gender identity and presented a case that sparked debate and garnered public attention.
In a report published by 1819 News, Copeland was identified as the individual behind social media accounts and online personas, where he referred to himself as “Brittini Blaire Summerlin” and claimed to be a “Transitioning Transgender Curvy Girl.” The report disclosed that Copeland used Reddit and maintained a private Instagram page under this pseudonym.
The controversy escalated when, during a welfare check on Friday, Copeland took his own life in the presence of law enforcement officers from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
In response to these tragic events, First Baptist Church in Phenix City released a statement on its official Facebook page, expressing gratitude for the outpouring of support and prayers, while requesting continued support for Copeland’s grieving family. The statement read, “Thank you all for your prayers and expressions of sympathy and support. First and foremost, we ask that you keep Pastor Bubba Copeland’s family in your prayers today and in the days ahead. We greatly appreciate your messages, comments, and encouragement. Please continue to pray for us as we move forward in sharing God’s love to all people.”
Days prior to his passing, Copeland addressed the controversy in a sermon to his congregation at First Baptist Church, which was livestreamed on Facebook. In the sermon, he acknowledged being the subject of an “internet attack” and expressed regret for any embarrassment his “private and personal life” might have caused. Copeland confirmed his connection to the social media accounts, describing them as a means to alleviate stress and engage in a personal “hobby” and “fantasy.” After 1819 News reached out to him regarding the article, he deleted the accounts and defended his actions, asserting that his private life had no bearing on his roles as mayor and pastor.