Scroll To Top

This Gay School Board Member Has Choice Words for the Zieglers' Bisexual Tryst and Allegations

Tom Edwards Sarasota County School Board Bridget Ziegler Moms for Liberty
Images: Tom Edwards Campaign Sarasota County School Board; facebook @BridgetAZiegler

Bridget Ziegler, who has supported anti-LGBTQ+ policies, chaired a school board meeting where Tom Edwards was called a groomer by homophobes.

A sex scandal in Florida threatens the influence of state Republican Party chair Christian Ziegler and his wife, education crusader Bridget Ziegler. For Tom Edwards, who serves on the Sarasota County School Board with Bridget Ziegler, the end can’t come soon enough.

The gay official earned national attention when he walked out of a School Board meeting after homophobes called him an “LGBTQ groomer” and criticized “what he wants to do to our children.” Bridget Ziegler, a co-founder of Moms For Liberty, chaired the meetings where those remarks were made.

Now, Christian Ziegler faces an active criminal investigation for rape, and both Zieglers have admitted to a past threesome with the woman leveling the accusation. The seriousness of a sexual battery accusation — and the duplicity of the couple engaging in a bisexual tryst while advocating against LGBTQ+ equality — has resulted in Florida leaders from both sides of the aisle demanding both Zieglers resign from public life.

“It’s all a distraction,” Edwards told The Advocate.

But he said the scandal exposes the hollowness of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ education agenda as well. DeSantis, as he runs for president, has advanced numerous anti-LGBTQ+ policies, many of them cast as a defense of parents’ rights. Bridget Ziegler, a mother of three, often served as the face of those policies, and stood with DeSantis at a signing ceremony for the “don’t say gay” law prohibiting instruction on gender identity or sexual orientation in public school.

If nothing else, the recent scandal exposes that the Zieglers had little concern about the impact of same-sex relationships on their own family.

“The LGBTQ+ community in its entirety was attacked because of the Zieglers, the DeSantises, and those policies,” Edwards said. “As political climbers, I don’t even think they buy it or espouse to it. It was just political gold.”

But because the policies were tied to political ambitions, the advancement went nationwide. Across the country, legislators modeled “don’t say gay” bills and book-banning policies off what happened in Florida.

“Those dominoes went across the country. Sarasota was ground zero,” Edwards said. “People said if DeSantis can do it, I’m doing it. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wanted in. All Republican governors wanted to do the same thing.”

The high-profile episode between Edwards and Bridget Ziegler over his walkout was just one installment. He said from his spot on the board, he watched the Zieglers become national spokespeople on issues like banning critical race theory, erasing Black history, and limiting trans rights.

He recalled when DeSantis announced plans to target several School Board members in Florida politically, he consulted with Christian Ziegler on the hit list, and Edwards's name was on the top of it.

“That puts the Zieglers and governor in the same room as Moms For Liberty, and they decided to come at me because I’m LGBTQ+, and they called me the most woke School Board member in America,” Edwards said. “The way they used Bridget, the way they used me, they advanced that agenda.”

But as the Zieglers seem to face a comeuppance, Edwards hopes some of the damage of the anti-LGBTQ+ message in Florida can be reduced.

“If you are the parent of trans children or LGBTQ+ children, or if you are an LGBTQ+ adolescent, you need to know, there is nothing wrong with you,” Edwards said. “You are as right as rain. You are just you. It’s just a different orientation.”

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Jacob Ogles