Cecil Brockman, a state Rep. in North Carolina, was enjoying dinner one night with two men who were wearing "anti-HB 2" buttons when a drunk man came up to him and asked him if he was gay.
The man Brockman was having dinner with was state Rep. Chris Sgro and his partner. Sgro is the only openly gay legislator in the N.C. General Assembly. The drunk man "launched into a homophobic and obscene tirade, making such a scene that the management made him leave," reported a local paper.
The "ugly incident" that he experienced at dinner influenced Brockman to come out publicly as a bisexual man.
"I don't necessarily live that life," Brockman told The News & Record, a newspaper in Greensboro, North Carolina. "I don't wear it on my sleeve. I can live in the straight world and not be identified."
"I really want young people to know that you can be a member of the LGBT community, and it's OK," said Brockman. "You can run for public office and serve honorably. You don't have to let anyone put you in a box."
Brockman also said that he was deeply affected when House Bill 2 passed in North Carolina.
HB 2 struck down LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination ordinances in cities and counties statewide, and prohibits cities from adopting any new ones. It also expressly requires transgender people to use public bathrooms and locker rooms that do not match their gender identity, when these are in government buildings.
"Discriminating against folks in the LGBT community has become legal," said Brockman about HB 2. "You should be able to be who you are and love who you are and not be afraid to go out and feel like someone will harass you."
Prior to serving in public office, Brockman was a campaign manager and aide to Marcus Brandon. Brandon made history as the first openly gay representative in the N.C. legislature, reported The News & Record.