FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum has come out as bisexual.
He made the announcement during an interview aired Monday on the “Tamron Hall Show,” saying, “I don’t identify as gay, but I do identify as bisexual. That is something that I have never shared publicly before.”
Gillum’s disclosure is the latest in a string of candid remarks from the once-rising political star whose life took a different direction in 2018 when he lost the election for Florida governor.
After winning the Democratic nomination for governor with 34% of the vote in a five-way primary, Gillum was thrust into the national spotlight in one of the most watched gubernatorial races in the country. Had he won, he would have been the first Black governor of the nation’s largest swing state.
Since that loss, the former mayor of Tallahassee focused his efforts on engaging voters and increasing voter registration, but he’s had a string of embarrassments.
In 2019, the Florida Ethics Commission fined him $5,000 after investigating his getaways to Costa Rica and New York, with lobbyists picking up most of the costs. Gillum’s attorney Barry Richard said Gillum agreed to a count of accepting a lobbyist’s gift worth more than $100, and that it involved a free boat ride of about an hour-and-a-half for a party of seven around Manhattan.
His public life began to unravel when he made national news earlier this year when Miami Beach police found Gillum vomiting in a hotel bathroom and another man in possible cardiac arrest on the bed. Cops released the bodycam footage and 26 photos showing the inside of the hotel room and the baggies of drugs.
Gillum, according to the police report, “was unable to communicate with officers due to his inebriated state.”
After the Miami Beach incident, he entered rehab.
“This has been a wake-up call for me,” the married father of three said in a written statement at the time. “Since my race for governor ended, I fell into a depression that has led to alcohol abuse.
“I witnessed my father suffer from alcoholism, and I know the damaging effects it can have when untreated. I also know that alcoholism is often a symptom of deeper struggles.”
In a personal post on Instagram in July, he said the depression he felt after his narrowly losing the 2018 race for governor manifested itself in addiction. Gillum didn’t offer any hints as to what he would do next, though he said that he’s writing, for now on a personal level.
Books are often a way for people who’ve had public crises to attempt public redemption and re-enter public life.
In the interview that talked about the spiral of his life after the election, Gillum said he knows what people assume about what he did in that in that hotel room, and he hadn’t consented to the photos. He said much of his recovery has been about “trying to get over shame.”
©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)