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Pahokee, Florida Mayor J.P. Sasser Comes Out Publicly

PahokeeJ.P. Sasser has been mayor of the small town of Pahokee, Florida for three terms. However, last week was the first time he has spoken about his sexuality publicly, according to an article in South Florida's Sun-Sentinel.

Sasser, who was born and raised in Pahokee, has been with his partner for 15 years, says he's a mayor but not an activist:

"I am not a gay mayor. I am a mayor who is gay. And it's nobody's business. And I don't go around [proclaiming], 'This is who I am.' I'm not going to deny it, but it doesn't define me. I'm so much more than that. If I am somewhere and I hear someone say a negative remark or go on a little tirade, then I will identify myself. Like if I were an African-American faced with the n-word or a Jewish person faced with Mel Gibson. I have more pressing issues. I have people who have to choose between eating or taking their medicine."

Said one frequent visitor to Pahokee: "I can guarantee you the people who voted for him knew that he's gay. I don't hear, 'J.P. is the gay mayor.' I hear, 'J.P. is the best mayor Pahokee's ever had,' even by some of his detractors."

While it's not clear from the article what caused Sasser to speak out (or that he's necessarily happy to do so), it wouldn't surprise me if the Foley scandal is stirring up lots of discussions about sexuality in the state at all levels of government.

For mayor, gay isn't an issue [sun-sentinel]

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Comments

  1. Whatever his reason... I congratulate Mayor Sasser and his partner for making the decision, embracing the reality and asserting how it has nothing to do with his job performance or how he defines himself. Kudos and best wishes to them both. I agree that the Foley situation might have, in some way, inspired his doing so.

    Maybe it's just the first ripples of a BIG wave of people coming out this year that we're seeing? I wonder what the effect of that would be.

    Posted by: mw savant | Oct 23, 2006 4:47:53 PM


  2. "This is who I am. I'm not going to deny it, but it doesn't define me. I'm so much more than that."

    Thank God! (or whatever you believe in) that someone has the balls and the brains to say something like that. I couldn't agree more.

    Posted by: J.R. | Oct 23, 2006 4:57:24 PM


  3. I grew up in Pahokee. I've long since moved away, but I've spent all my adult years thinking I came from a place where it seemed there were no other gay people. I am proud of my old hometown.

    Posted by: Steve | Oct 23, 2006 5:40:30 PM


  4. BEST NATIONAL COMING OUT MONTH EVER!

    I hope the trend continues.

    Congratulations to Mayor Sasser and his partner!

    Posted by: Zeke | Oct 23, 2006 6:06:14 PM


  5. Good for him. Mayors,actors doing the right thing. Being who they are. Let's hope the trend keeps up. Show all those nay sayers just who we are. We've been here all along and the sky is still up there.

    Posted by: Harold | Oct 23, 2006 6:38:08 PM


  6. HAHA... that mel gibson line is cute. Kudos to Mayor Sasser!

    Posted by: no | Oct 23, 2006 8:07:23 PM


  7. It's so great to see people coming out and being who they are and not worrying about what others think of them. Life is short...live! Congrats to the Mayor!

    Posted by: Phillip | Oct 23, 2006 8:27:43 PM


  8. I grew up in Clewiston, Florida, which is a town near Pahokee. I'm thrilled that Mayor Sasser came out, especially in that area. When I lived there (in the 70's), blacks and whites were still segregated. Homosexuality was never talked about.

    If we're making progress in Pahokee, we're making progress - period.

    Posted by: Swede And Czech | Oct 24, 2006 8:43:35 AM


  9. I commend Mr. Sasser

    Posted by: Karim | Oct 29, 2006 12:53:33 PM


  10. I am a resident of Pahokee and CANNOT imagine living in Pahokee without J. P. Sasser. HE is the reason that I continue to live in Pahokee and have not followed the masses to Wellington and WPB. Our mayor is not only our present is is our future.

    Posted by: Cindy Findley | Nov 10, 2006 8:44:17 PM


  11. This man clearly is a genius. If only actors and other professionals could be so upfront and dignified.

    Posted by: EM | Jan 1, 2007 9:45:50 AM


  12. I think it's great that he finally came out of the closet. Now if only he'd not be a scumbag liar who got into his office on a lie cooked up between he and the former Chief of Police Gary Frechette. That would be great too. He actually missed the deadline for submitting his election paperwork and therefore was not eligible to be mayor. So he and Frechette got together and Frechetee, who was also acting City Manager at the moment, made an agreement that Frechette would state to the city council that he "accidentally" forgot to file the paperwork on time...his bad. All of this was done in order to remove the City Council's black majority from the city and make it a white majority. If I'm lying I'm dying. In conclusion, I am happy the racist lying gay mayor came out of the closet finally.

    Posted by: MuckRabbit | Dec 18, 2007 12:50:01 PM


  13. National Coming Out Day was on Oct. 11. In recognition of the day, gay communities across the country made sacrifices to come out and identify with their inner selves. Unfortunately across the world gays are confronted with EQUALITY issues all the time. All people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer question, intersexual and allies are under supported as well as under represented by city, local, county, and federal statutes. I was born and raised in Pahokee, FL. and am very proud to see that my hometown city is being fully represented by a man who genuinely cares about his community and town; Although, I don't live there anymore.

    As a representative of gay organizations, both public and private, I would like to congratulate the city of Pahokee mayor on his public coming out. Oppression, hate and discrimination impact all of us even if we are not the target. I challenge each of you to support Mayor Sasser's commitment to a city of progress in motion, for equality and stand in unity for all members of our community. I further challenge each city resident to commit to being a supporter of the Mayor's initiatives and plans for the city's growth.

    Based on the statistic that an estimated 10 percent of the population is Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, etc., we all know someone who is directly affected by oppression, hate and/or discrimination. My question is why is it OK to discriminate against someone for simply being who they are? I do not nor have I ever been able to find a viable answer to this question.

    We all have a right to feel safe, be safe and be respected for simply being ourselves. Please find it within yourself to join us and show your support for equality for all by continuously supporting the Mayor of Pahokee, JP Sasser.

    Posted by: Lorenzo B Britt | Dec 6, 2008 11:53:07 PM


  14. Hooray for JP so proud of you.

    Posted by: mary dobrow | Aug 11, 2011 8:38:21 PM


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