Gay Texas Councilman Challenges Recall After Nude Photos Leak

19-year-old politician Cross Coburn, who served as an openly gay councilman in Groves, Texas, was recalled from office after his nudes from Grindr were leaked, reported the New York Times.

62 percent of voters ousted Coburn in a recall election on November 6, nine months after City Hall received an anonymous package of nude photos Coburn had sent in private messages on Grindr.  A petition began to circulate Groves calling for his recall, saying residents’ trust had been broken.

Coburn is now challenging the recall petition, claiming a number of signatures were forged. He said he believed that he had been blackmailed through the dating app and Mayor Brad Bailey and Councilman Kyle Hollier helped orchestrate the recall.

Bailey did not comment on Coburn’s claims. Hollier’s only comment to the New York Times was that “the voters of Groves have spoken.”

“Someone organized the equivalent of a tar-and-feathering to get him removed from office,” said Chuck Smith of LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Texas.

The young councilman told the New York Times that he doesn’t regret the photos. “I regret that it got out, but I will never regret being human,” he said. “I do not believe that me having consensual conversations with another adult has any merit to how I can perform my duties.”

“I’m sorry if anyone took it the wrong way, but it was really nothing more complex than, it’s my personal life,” Coburn told PinkNews. “I don’t see anything wrong with what I did, and I don’t think I should be judged for what happened.”

Coburn ran uncontested for the nonpartisan position last year and was elected after the incumbent councilman unexpectedly withdrew from the race. He only served one year of the two-year term before being recalled.