Yet another “family values” conservative politician has been caught trolling for men on Grindr and exposed as a hypocritical fraud. Tennessee state Rep. Bill Sanderson, who declares himself to be a “proudly pro-life and pro-family” Republican who pledges to “preserve the values that have defined our families for generations.” I doubt that’s on his Grindr description.
Sanderson’s extracurricular activities have long been an open secret around the Capitol. I, for one, have known about a set of Grindr communications for three years. But only recently, in the wake of the scandals involving House Speaker Glen Casada and his former chief of staff Cade Cothren, along with the increasing pressure to oust alleged molester Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro), did sources agree to let me write about the messages and encounters.Sanderson denies everything in this story. I will have a second newsletter later today with a longer account of the interview we had last night, in which he begged me not to run this. Sanderson plans to resign at 12 p.m. CT today, but he has known about the content of this story since last Friday, July 19. The timing of his stepping down is not a coincidence.
Sanderson has a particular taste for men much younger than him. I imaging this has sparked some interesting conversations with his wife. I know that outing LGBT people is something that generally should not be done, but I agree with Dan Savage that the one circumstance in which it is acceptable and appropriate is when it involves a politician who votes consistently against LGBT people, as Sanderson has done. In this case, I think it’s justified. But I do think we should not overgeneralize and think that all or most anti-gay politicians are secretly gay. Many of them are, many of them have been outed and many still will be. But this is among thousands of conservative Republicans. They still remain a small minority of that group.