Mississippi Mayor Greg Davis Is In Big Trouble And Also Gay, Surprise!

While most people may not have heard of Southaven, Mississippi, it’s now become the latest in the long line of Places Whose Republican Political Representative Has Been Outed. Greg Davis, the mayor of Southaven and unsuccessful candidate for a Congressional position back in 2008, has made his political career so far on a “conservative, family-values” platform. Recently, he also spent thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money on “liquor and expensive dinners” — as well as a full $67 at a Toronto shop that “caters to gay men,” called Priape. Davis says he “does not remember” what exactly he purchased there, but does admit that he is a member of the demographic that the store apparently serves:

“At this point in my life and in my career, while I have tried to maintain separation between my personal and public life, it is obvious that this can no longer remain the case,” Davis told the newspaper in an interview at his Southaven, Miss. home last week. “While I have performed my job as mayor, in my opinion, as a very conservative, progressive individual — and still continue to be a very conservative individual — I think that it is important that I discuss the struggles I have had over the last few years when I came to the realization that I am gay.”

The National Post observes that as both a sex shop and a “gay lifestyle” store, Davis could have spent $67 of municipal funds on any number of things:

Billed as both a sex shop and a lifestyle boutique, the shop sells everything from latex fetish gear to non-pornographic gay films and books. For $67, Mr. Davis could have walked out with anything from a couple of hard-core pornographic DVDs to a stylish T-shirt.

So far, Davis has repaid the city $96,000 of what were apparently city funds used for personal use, the majority of which seem to have gone towards non-gay-sex-shop purchases, and more run-of-the-mill inappropriate expenditures, the specifics of which he says he cannot discuss on his attorney’s advice.

According to the (extremely unofficial) communal ethics of outing someone, the rules state that while it’s generally an extreme violation of someone’s privacy in the public eye, it’s permissible when the person in question is operating from a platform of “conservative family values.” It’s unclear whether Davis’s mayorship has been actively anti-gay, or tended more towards fiscal conservatism, but it seems safe to say that his voter base will be surprised and likely dismayed by this development. His church, Heartland Baptist Church, is also attended by an ex-gay author — Kathy Bailey of The Full Circle of Coming Out, as noted again by the National Post. Davis also attended church with his wife, Suzann, to whom he was “happily married.” There does not seem to be any word on how Davis’s marriage will be affected by this announcement; he said only that he would like “the community as a whole to allow me to let this part of my life be entitled to privacy.”

So far, virtually all of the media coverage of Mayor Davis’s indiscretions (including this coverage, to be fair) has taken the angle of a conservative politician being embarrassingly outed in front of his community. Which is factually true. But it only took $67 to out Greg Davis, out of the $170,000 of taxpayers’ money that he spent on himself. As Out put it, “Isn’t the real issue all the money he took from Southaven?” Other Republican politicians have been outed with considerably higher (and more melodramatic) stakes, like getting pulled over when driving home drunk from the gay bar. In that case, yes, the fact that you were driving home drunk from a gay bar is in fact the point of the story. And in this case, it does seem like Davis is in fact gay — but he’s a gay man who’s stolen $170,000 from the people he’s supposed to be serving.  Davis made a statement that “The only apology I would make to my supporters if they are upset is the fact that I was not honest enough with myself to be honest with them.” Maybe it would have been a little more “honest” to apologize for stealing from them, regardless of what “latex fetish gear” it may have been used to buy.

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Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over books and news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy."

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18 Comments

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    With regard to the question of whether his mayorship has been actively anti-gay:

    https://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/nov/02/election-1st-congressional-district-d233j224-vu/

    Apparently as of 2008, he thought that talking about how gay people shouldn’t serve openly in the military or be firefighters would be a good way to get elected to congress. He also opposed gay marriage, because he’s pro-bible.

    I don’t know whether being anti-gay in rhetoric and not policy is enough to warrant an outing, though.

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    these outed politician stories always make me emotionally confused. i get angry at the hypocrisy of it all at first. then start i to think about how much messed up on anti-gay rhetoric this guy must have been doused in growing up that it would lead to him not only hiding his sexual orientation as a middle aged adult, but then having to publicly condemn everyone else’s to keep up his facade and “credibility”. it’s sad, really.

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    All the other clusterfuckery aside, can someone please explain to me this: ” as a very conservative, progressive individual”??? Can someone be simultaneously conservative and progressive??

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      Wait, so if I get too gay then I’ll loop all the way back to straight again?!?! That’s a terrifying idea because I’m pretty sure if it’s true then I’m one Tegan and Sara concert away from being a flaming heterosexual.

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        Hi Willis, Well…for me…I was in a relationship with a woman in early adulthood. I honestly believed something was wrong with me, but that I would live the rest of my life as a lesbian. The problem with that was, I had something deep inside nagging me that it was wrong. Many years later, I had to get alone. I had to stop all the voices of society, both positive and negative. When I did that, I began to see some things about my life, from early on as a child. I could see that many factors were involved over the years which brought me to the conclusion that I was gay. It was as if I was put on a path, early on, and when I realized where that path would ultimately lead, I decided to get off of that path. I began to reverse all of the “ways of thinking” which had been ingrained into my being. After all, I was born a female and that’s how I wanted to live and function. I wanted a husband and I wanted a family. I am not one of these mean, belligerent Christians who hates all gay people. On the contrary, I have deep compassion and understanding for them. I’ve been there, I know what those “feelings” are like. But I have found the path to true peace and welcome anyone who desires that too. Based on my personal experience with God, and the bible, I would say an overwhelming majority of people have totally misrepresented the 2!!

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    Kathy Bailey happens to be my best friend and yes she was once homosexual and now is 100% heterosexual and the mother of 3 children. Her book is a good read, very compelling. She was delivered not by psychology, drugs, therapy, but by the power of God during a process of discovering His love for her. It was a personal deliverance and by that I mean, it did not involve any external source from other people. Read her story, see for yourself, she knows this from the inside out. Her book can be purchased at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

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      Awe Lisa, you are so sweet! I feel so special :-) Honestly though, I appreciate you more than you will ever know!

      Anyone reading this, look up Lisa McCarter on Examiner.com and check out some of her articles. Over the years, we have seen evidence of God answering many prayers. She written some true accounts about that. I would say that many people don’t have an accurate understanding of God because He has been grossly misrepresented by “Christians”. I am so sorry about that, especially if you have a bad taste in your mouth about Christianity! I think it’s gotten to the point where people don’t want to hear another word about God. If that’s you, read Lisa’s articles. I think you will be surprised.

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