April 12, 2016 at 2:00 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Mississippi governor’s son reportedly victim of anti-gay attack
Patrick Bryant, gay news, Washington Blade

Patrick Bryant with Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant (Photo public domain from the Office of the First Lady of Mississippi)

The Washington Blade has learned that the son of Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant was once attacked because he is gay.

A source who claims to know Patrick Bryant from when they were students at the University of Southern Mississippi told the Washington Blade last week during a telephone interview from Jackson, the state capital, that the incident took place at a bar in Hattiesburg after the governor took office in 2012.

The source said that Patrick Bryant — who was a student at the University of Southern Mississippi at the time — went to the bar with a group of other gay men. The source told the Blade that it is “an open secret” that the governor’s son is gay.

“He was intoxicated and someone asked him if he was, ‘Phil Bryant’s faggot gay son,’” said the source who asked the Blade not to publish their name for fear of retribution from the governor, recalling the alleged incident. “Obviously people took offense to it.”

The source said the man “kept antagonizing him to try to provoke Patrick into a fight.”

The source told the Blade that the man pushed Patrick Bryant.

“It wasn’t really a fair fight,” said the source.

The source told the Blade that Patrick Bryant moved to Austin, Texas, shortly after the alleged incident took place.

“He (Phil Bryant) knew that if Patrick stayed, he knew eventually everyone would realize Patrick’s gay and it would come out during an election and someone would try to use it against him politically,” said the source.

The Blade reached the Hattiesburg Police Department on Monday. The officer who answered the phone did not follow-up with information about the alleged attack.

WLOX, a television station on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, reported that Patrick Bryant helped decorate the Governor’s Mansion for the holidays in 2012. His LinkedIn page says he is currently an interior designer for a firm in Austin, Texas.

Robin Roberts: HB 1523 ‘hurts my soul’

The source spoke with the Blade two days after Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1523, a sweeping “religious freedom” bill that critics contend would allow anti-LGBT discrimination in Mississippi.

“Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts, who grew up in Pass Christian on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and came out as a lesbian in 2013, appears on the cover of the state’s most recent tourism guide. She criticized HB 1523 in a statement to WLOX.

“My longtime partner, Amber, and I have always felt welcomed in my home state, and it hurts my soul to think of anyone not feeling welcome,” said Roberts.

Ellen DeGeneres, who grew up in Louisiana, is among those who have also criticized Mississippi’s religious freedom law. Spokespersons for the Departments of Transportation, Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development told the Blade last week that their respective agencies are reviewing the controversial statute.

“No business that serves the public asks its customers if they are gay, bisexual, transgendered or straight before providing services, nor should they,” said Tim Wildmon, president of the Mississippi-based American Family Association, in an April 6 post to his website. “This is what opponents of our new state law want you to believe. That simply doesn’t happen.”

“But any private small business owner such as a baker, a photographer, a florist, etc., should not be forced by the power of the government to be an active participant in a wedding ceremony or else be put out of business,” he added. “Mississippi’s new law protects these people from having their lives ruined simply because they are Christians.”

Family thrown ‘under the bus for politics’ in Miss.

Speculation over Patrick Bryant’s sexual orientation has persisted for years.

Mitchell Moore, owner of Campbell’s Bakery in the Fondren neighborhood of Jackson, told the Blade in 2014 shortly after another religious freedom bill that Phil Bryant signed took effect that the governor enacted it because he had yet to accept his son’s homosexuality. The source with whom the Blade spoke last week said “it’s an open secret” that Patrick Bryant is gay.

Neither Patrick Bryant nor his father’s office returned the Blade’s multiple requests for comment for this story.

“People will definitely throw their family under the bus for politics (in this state,)” said the source.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • Danny D

    So you outed a 28 year old victim of assault because of his sexual identity, because his father is a bigot? Great journalism here.

    • HottyToddy1

      Outed? He wasn’t in the closet. For christsake, he’s an interior decorator who goes to gay bars. And yes, it is relevant that a governor who signed a gay apartheid bill into law has a gay son.

      • John Heinis

        Why does being an interior decorator frequenting a gay bar grant the media a license to out someone? He may or may not be gay. That is his business, not everyone who visits the website or reads a print copy of the Blade. Equal Civil Rights also includes the Right to Pursue Happiness.

        • customartist

          I don’t think it includes keeping quiet while I am harmed so that he can keep the money flowing. Nope. I don’t buy it.

  • Daniel

    This is absolutely trash journalism, consisting of a series of completely unsubstantiated rumors from an anonymous source that outs an innocent bystander.

    This story should be immediately retracted, and the Blade should have a thorough review of its (lack of) editorial guidelines.

    • GroupThinkSucks

      He campaigns for his father. He is hardly an innocent bystander. He’s a big republican like his father.

      • Jeff

        Any evidence he does this GTS?

    • uhhuhh

      What a drama queen! We have no obligation to help a grown man hide like a coward. If he’s hitting the bars, he’s fair game. Equality means treating being gay the same as any other benign trait, not treating it like a secret, horrifying cancer diagnosis. Get out of your fetal position.

      • Danny D

        He is not a public figure. He was a victim of an assault. If you, not being a public figure, does something in a public setting, does that make it fair game, for public ridicule? Doesn’t victims of hate crimes, absent being the sons of governor, have a right to be shielded of shielded from the public eye?

        Being gay means treating all people equally, without the fear or maligned attitude, we have been victims of for centuries.

        It must be heavy carrying all that hate on your back day in and day out behind the cloak of annominity.

        • Happiness Seeker

          He campaigns for his father. I think he is enough of a public figure.

        • customartist

          Would it be okay of the Governor’s wife did not speak up about the Governor evading taxes or embezzling State funds?

  • Celeste Swaim-Gray

    Danny, no one threw anyone under the bus, when everyone already knew who was on the bus. Get real.

    • Danny D

      Really? Everyone? Hyperbole, much? This is what is wrong with America today. The guy was a victim of an assault and yet he now becomes public fodder. The guy isn’t a public official, yet he is treated like one. This is digital muckraking at its worst. #Shame

      • uhhuhh

        Get over it, closet case. If he’s hanging out at gay bars, he’s no struggling teen. We have no obligation to help grown men hide. Equality means treating being gay the same as any other characteristic, not like a deep, dark, shameful secret. It’s not a cancer diagnosis. Stop cowering.

        • customartist

          Well said

      • customartist

        He enjoys the rewards of the office.

    • John Heinis

      Everyone???? I live in Florida and had no idea or interest in the family members of a Red Neck Conservative Fake Christian Governor who promotes Hate & Bigotry. What does the bastard’s son have to do with mess?

      • customartist

        You believe he is NOT gay?
        You believe that he has no responsibility to address his father publicly?
        I do on both accounts.

  • tonyinstpete

    Mississippi’s and North Carolina’s governors (and now, sadly, it seems Tennessee) should hear that we are not going to step foot in their states, not even vacation and gamble in Biloxi1 (just kidding!) Mississippi’s law is the most draconian of all. Governor Phil Bryant can be reached at (601) 359-3150. or you can send him a message through a contact form on his website:
    http://www.governorbryant.com/contact

    Perhaps most imporantly, one of the few major industries Mississippi has is shipbuilding on the Gulf Coast with a heavy Navy emphasis. There is right now an active petition on the “We the People’ portion of the whitehouse.gov website that seeks to rescind a large ($600 million) Navy contract with Mississippi’s largest private employer. It now only has a pitifully small number (375 or so) signatures and needs several thousand before it would ordinarily elicit a response from President Obama: Go to:

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/rescind-navy-contract-ingalls-shipbuilding-due-state-senate-bill-1523-legalizing-denial-necessities

    • Steven Quiz

      This is the exact reason we have bills like this, you people are sue crazy. Just because someone does not believe the same as you does not mean you have the right to sue. Im sure you can find 15 cake bakeries that will make you a cake. You dont need a pastor to marry you also.

    • Eli Odell Jackson

      Ho ho ho! Stay away, Stay away, Stay away, from Dixie!

  • Justin

    For anyone that knows Patrick, they would know this to be untrue. The incident and “the move” happened years apart. He moved to Austin because he got a promotion. In journalism school, we learned you could have an unnamed source, but needed more than one. The Washington Blade is trash! I have lost all respect and will not pick it up anymore nor take it seriously!

    • citizen kane

      Justin, it breaks my heart that you no longer trust the Washington Blade.

    • customartist

      So Justin, should hypothetically we be quiet if the Governor himself were discovered to be gay?

  • carrotcakeman

    What a lot of sock puppets!

  • WesternIowan

    Appalling these state governments are trying to use religion to violate the First Amendment rights of LGBT Americans. They falsely claim it is religious rights vs sexual orientation rights when it is religious rights vs religious rights. A law passed to use religion to harm heterosexuals, latinos, or disabled people would clearly be a violation of the religious rights of those heterosexuals, latinos, or disabled people. This is no different.

    • Steven Quiz

      Maybe stop suing people for all their money when they wont serve you due to there religious beliefs and we would not need this bill! Its as simple as that. The bill is not about discrimination but protecting people who don’t think the same way as you do to keep them from being sued. If you people would just say “Ok I respect your opinion” Instead of destroying everyone else’s first amendment rights we would not have this bill. You people created the problem with your intolerance to others opinions. P.S you cant compare the rights of homosexuals to that of Latinos due to the fact homosexuals are not a race.

      • WesternIowan

        So when your family is in an accident, you will give the doctor permission to walk away from the operating table if it conflicts with his/her religious beliefs, right? Or is it only some people who get sanctimonious bigotry cloaked in religion protected under your scheme?

      • Cmj

        Better yet, run them out of business. Or go live in the Middle East where they kill gays.

  • Margaret Mestas Cordova

    No wonder individuals are so against religion with this idiot playing God! No one has the right to judge others and make them targets as though they were complete trash! I wonder what this Phil Bryant is doing behind closed doors? Jerk!

  • Margaret Mestas Cordova

    The bible says at Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Guess what ? That means every last one of us…no one is exempt including Phil Bryant! The next time a person gets to thinking that their just a little bit better than the next person think of the scripture at Romans 3:23. What this man has done is very extreme!

    • customartist

      Agreed.

  • maryland

    What ever happened to not outing someone?

    • customartist

      The Governor knows that his son is gay, period. This is not new news.
      Does the son enjoy some privilege from the proceeds of his father’s office? I believe so.
      Does the son have some responsibility for addressing his father’s actions, and does he go along with his father’s actions quietly? Seems so.
      Does his Father the Governor take hurtful actions against LGBT’s in order to save his seat? Yes again.
      I never want to hurt others who have not hurt me or others, but I believe that the case is substantially different here. You don’t hurt me or others so that you can get the big fat paycheck.

    • Joseph Singer

      It was an “open secret” so he was already kinda out, people just didn’t talk about it…

  • BookMike

    Mississippi sounds just as despicable as I always assumed it was.

    • rondonaghe

      There’s a difference between the gerrymandered republicans in the Mississippi legislature and the rest of the politicians who find it more difficult to get elected to the Haley Barbor’s gerrymandering, which sliced up the voting districts and put Democrats at a great disadvantage (but that’s a whole other issue). There are plenty of Democrats and Independents in Mississippi, along with plenty of business owners who gladly serve gay people. In fact, a business in Jackson Mississippi started the “If you’re buying we’re selling” campaign, which means that they will serve LGBT people. These businesses put the buy/sell stickers in their windows. The people of Mississippi are not despicable—at least those with whom I have come into contact. In fact, I just bought a house in Columbus, Mississippi, despite the anti-gay law that has just been signed. You might more accurately say that Mississippi has a split personality, rather than just painting the whole state as despicable. I’m gay and as it so happens, so is my partner of 25 years, and we’re looking forward to moving into our new house in Mississippi.

  • John Heinis

    While the “fact” (gossip) that Patrick Bryant’s sexual orientation appears to be the main topic of the article, I am concerned that the Blade or any other publication would choose to Out someone. Is this news? It is nothing more or less than malicious gossip and does nothing to advance the struggle for Equal Civil Rights.

    • customartist

      John,
      No. If this were mere malicious outing, then I believe that either the Governor, his wife, or Patrick himself, one of the three, would have responded.

      I find it hard to believe that the Governor of a State, with all of the power and resources available to him, does not know that his son is gay. With this said, and while enjoying the wealth and power of his office, as do his son and wife subsequently, I believe that when those people partake in such a powerful office, then they also are responsible for the decisions that they make.

      I also find it difficult to accept that we as LGBT people are forced into bearing the difficulties that the Governor imposes electively upon us so that he can continue to enjoy his office, but that we are then responsible somehow to look after THEIR interests or feelings, and again, especially when none of them can lift a finger to help us.

      SOMEONE will soon confirm that Patrick Bryant is gay. I don’t think that this will mean a hill of beans to the Governor, because Republicans are the farthest thing from Christians that could possibly be. They ignore scripture with the greatest of ease. They actively seek out and intentionally harm “the least of us”.

      • John Heinis

        I stand by my statement. While your concerns have substance & merit, they do not ,in my opinion, overshadow the concern of outing (to the public) which has no bearing on the LGBT Equal Civil Rights Movement.

    • Joseph Singer

      No oath is inviolable.

  • josephlogston

    The powers of the money of the capitalist G0D, for the morals and gullibility self holiness within these myths as tools for political tool powers over the masses, as we see the gays are just scapegoats to these power & greedy hungry creeps among us in our public lawmaking system that’s supposed to serve, & protect us from this very thing we have that infiltrated into our protecting people’s government!!!

  • Mark Cichewicz

    Boycotting Mississippi is fun join in please.

  • Evan

    The really stupid aspect about all of these “so-called” religious freedom advocates, are that they really aren’t an active participant in a wedding ceremony. Most are selling products and services for the celebration of the marriage, not the ceremony itself. The only thing you really need for the ceremony are the two people getting married and someone to officiate the wedding. Everything else is window dressing or for the celebration afterwords.

  • customartist

    I trust the author, Michael K. Lavers. Thank you.

  • rondonaghe

    I always feel sorry for the gay children of religious and political bigots. For one thing, the gay children have more choices to make than even gay children with ordinary parents. Gay children of religious and political bigots quite often try to support their parents, even when the parents slap them in the face with their actions: Phyllis Schlafley, Phil Bryant, and other bigot celebrities through their own children under the bus.

  • Margaret Mestas Cordova

    That’s such a big fat lie! They said the same thing about Jesus. They accused him of so many things and they were all lies. The bible condemns homosexuality either way! What you do is your business all us bible thumpers are commanded to do is preach Gods Kingdom. Some listen and some do not. It’s up to you! But I assure you God will judge us all. He will not change his standards to suit homosexuals. He destroyed Sodom and Gamorrah because of homosexuality and he will do the same today regardless of what you think. It’s wrong either way!

  • Steven Quiz

    If you do not want HB 1523 just stop suing Christians who refuse to bake your cake or marry you due to their religious beliefs. There are numerous other options other than that specific bakery or pastor. All this suing is doing is making some lazy homosexuals live off of some other persons cash.

  • Alston shed

    Gov. Bryant and his wife HATE gay people, and are especially ashamed of their son. Ho hum…thus is the State of this (loving Christian) State. Vote Trump to make America and Mississippi HATE again!

  • Alston shed

    Making Mississippi HATE again, and again, and again!

  • Margaret Mestas Cordova

    Wonder what you are doing?

  • LampasasCrockett

    What kind of a supposedly Christian person would advocate allowing doctors to refuse medical care to someone because of their sexual orientation? An incredibly ignorant one.

  • Cmj

    Sickening bigots that claim their sickness is according to the bible. What a bunch of morons. It’s amazing these people think a god had anything to do with the bible. It was bunch of men like the evangelicals we see today trying to brainwash people into their beliefs claiming god say so. Nothing like blind sheep swallowing anything and thinking it’s going to get them to a heaven we have no proof exists. DUST TO DUST AND BLOW BACK INTO THE UNIVERSE.

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