Home Alabama mayor’s social media accounts as a transgender woman revealed before death by suicide
Health, Politics, US & World

Alabama mayor’s social media accounts as a transgender woman revealed before death by suicide

Rebecca Barnabi
(© 1STunningART – stock.adobe.com)

Fred L. “Bubba” Copeland Jr. served on the Lee County Board of Education in Alabama and represented District 5 from 2005 to 2016.

His district included Smiths Station school zone.

He was elected mayor of Smiths Station in 2016 and re-elected in 2020.

Copeland met then-President Donald Trump in the aftermath of devastating storms that came through Smiths Station and nearby Beauregard. The March 2019 storm led to an EF-4 tornado and winds of up to 170 mph. Twenty-three were killed.

On Friday, November 3, sheriff’s deputies conducted a welfare check on Copeland during which Copeland allegedly died by suicide.

On November 1, conservative blog 1819 News posted a story which revealed the Alabama mayor’s alleged secret life as a transgender woman.

Copeland, a member of the Republican Party, also served as a pastor at the First Baptist Church of Phenix City. He owned The Country Market, a retail grocery business in Salem.

According to 1819 News, Copeland operated social media accounts under the name Brittini Blaire Summerlin, a transgender woman. Copeland told the blog that the accounts were a hobby and a way to handle stress, and that his wife was aware of the hobby.

A few days before his death, Copeland spoke to his congregation about the blog post.

“I’ve been the object of an internet attack,” Copeland said Wednesday in a sermon livestreamed on Facebook. He apologized for any embarrassment his private and personal life may have caused.

Copeland deleted the accounts after his interview with 1819 News and asked the blog not to make his hobby public.

“What I do in private life has nothing to do with what I do in my holy life,” Copeland reportedly told 1819 News. “Does this have any effect on me being mayor, that I sometimes put on a dress or sometimes put on makeup? Does that have anything to do whatsoever with me being mayor or being a pastor?”

In a March 2023 interview with Columbus, Georgia’s WRBL, Copeland referred to Smiths Station as Mayberry 2023, a reference to the fictional town portrayed in the 1960s television series “The Andy Griffith Show.”

“It really is like everybody knows your name. You know, everybody dies famous in a small town. That’s what it is. It is Friday Night Lights. It is mama’s apple pie. Our community is very, very low crime, very low drug abuse. Our No. 1 problem is suicide. It is sad. I think a lot of it has to do with military. I think some of it has to do with social media and the reality of that. That’s the No. 1 problem we have.”

Copeland was 49 years old, and is survived by his wife, a son and two stepdaughters.


If you or someone you know needs support now, call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.