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State Champion High School Coach Comes Out As Gay--How Did The School Handle It?

Outsports profiled the Micah Porter,  the state champion Colorado high school sports coach who came out as gay after 13 years of marriage and two children.  

While the story itself is extremely compelling and Porter is now out and appears to have the respect and support of the team that he coaches, one thing stood out for us and it pertains to the way the school handled Porter's coming out with regards to the students he coaches. 

Check out this excerpt from the full Outsports piece and let us know what you think:

Despite the warm embrace by the school, there was plenty of trepidation from the administration when Porter told them he was gay just before the 2010 season. After lengthy conversations, Porter was advised not to go into the boys locker room anymore; If he needed something from the locker room, he should have an assistant coach take care of it.

Both Porter and McWhorter said the decision had nothing to do with any concern about Porter's behavior, but rather the potential for false accusations leveled at Porter. The school, by all accounts, is a conservative institution. It was feared that a parent or student may use Porter's sexual orientation against him by falsely accusing him of improprieties in the locker room. The administration decided - for Porter's own protection - that he should stay well away from the locker room.

"You never know when you may come across a family that's against this, and somehow they find out [he's gay] and they want to get back at Micah by accusing him of something," McWhorter said. "But never once did it cross our minds that he would do something inappropriate with our students. Never."

The consequence of the decision has forced Porter to change in school bathrooms. At the end of class each day, he enters a bathroom by himself and slips into his uniform for that afternoon's practice.

"Every day I have to go into a bathroom to change," Porter said. "It's a reminder that I'm a second-class citizen in a school I've given so much to."

The administration also advised Porter to keep his sexual orientation to himself. While many of the staff and teachers at the school were aware of it after his divorce from a fellow teacher, they did not want his student-athletes to know.

"We have a general rule that our teachers and coaches don't discuss their personal lives with their students or athletes," McWhorter said. "The kids don't want to hear about your personal life, and neither do the parents. They just want you to coach or teach their child.

"I support Micah 150%. I always have and I always will. I don't have a bad word to say about the guy. He's a great coach, he's a great teacher."

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From what we can tell this is all taking place at a public school. We understand the desire not to have teachers over-share with their students, but does this sort of pressure from the administration to ensure that Porter stays closeted to students cross the line??

Beyond that, while the administration argues that the decision to have Porter change in a school bathroom rather than the locker room was a protective measure for him--does it give that dangerously misguided link between homosexuality and pedophilia more weight?

How do you feel about the way the school has handled and continues to handle Porter's coming out?

Read the full Outsports story here. 

 

Image Source (H/T: Towleroad)

Comments

I feel that the approach that the school look is very discriminator, they are presuming the worst. 

I feel that as a professional, the coach will make professional actions and it should not matter what the persons sexual orientation is in the work place.  Personal life says separate from work and home life.  Then the school broad needs to across the board make every coach change separately and not the same time as the team.  Now what do you think if the changes were made across the broad, then it might be fair.

The school needs to re-elevate their decision and it was not fair for them to even ask the coach to change his methods. 

no, you are a pervert.  this is a serious article about how a man's life was impacted and the first comment is about how a teenage boy is hot and cute.  and we wonder why he has to change in the bathroom...

Their concerns are genuine and sincere, but they were not handled in the right way. Most coaches do have assistants these days and perhaps Mr. Porter's could have taken up the slack for both him & the student athletes by establishing a chain-of-command. The bathroom changing thing is wrong. When I attended school, coaches were dressed long before the students were and had their own offices/changing areas.

The schools decision is highly inappropriate. Why don't we have all gays in society use the women's bathroom or dressing rooms then? Also, the school shouldn't automatically assume that the Coach is a criminal who would engage in inappropriate behavior with underage students. What about the lesbian students who use the women's locker room? Would you make them go into the bathroom to change as well? I think this behavior reinforces the mindset that being gay is unacceptable and wrong. If the students see how they treat teachers (role models) for coming out, many gay young adults may choose to hide who they are and I believe we all have the right to live openly and express who we are and not live based on someone's simple minded/conservative points of view. Just for the record, check out your state's sex offender registry and see what is on there. You will find many young males (straight) who engage in inappropriate sexual acts with females.  I believe we may want to focus more of our attention on the young straight adults who are the primary principals convicted of sex crimes in their communities.

I think having him not enter a boys locker room is appropriate based on the idea that you do not want to give the appearance of something inappropriate may happen, and while he, the coach, may not act inappropriate he can only control himself and not the actions of others, why put yourself at risk like that.  As to keeping his sexuality a secret from his students, I am not saying he should hold a team meeting to discuss it but, if he is asked by a student or a student sees him with someone, he should not have to deny who he is.  Students are more aware than administrators would like to think.

I think having a gay male coach sharing locker rooms with students is like having your hot friend move in with you and your husband - you would hope that you could trust your husband to not cheat on you - but why tempt fate? Some situations should be avoided.

I look at sexuality as a highly variant scale. No one is gay or straight, our sexuality is all the same some are just more oppressed than others or lean more to one side than the other. That being said, if it was really a problem to have gay men in locker rooms with straight men then there would be a gay locker room and bathroom for all the gays lesbians and trannies. The problem is not attraction but that the anatomy differs between a female and a male. Girls have what every other girl has so it is ok to change in front of each other. Same for guys. Sexual attraction doesn't really play into it, does it? Btw I am 28yo and a 20yo naked body does not turn me on. Just cause he's gay doesn't make him a pedophile. I think the school is just trying to protect themselves from falsified scandals but it is not sending a good message to treat the coach differently from the others.

The school handled it well IMO - We wouldn't allow a male coach in a girls locker room, so expecting him to be allowed in a boys locker room is asking too much. He has his job and they are being respectful of him. Asking teachers to keep their personal lives out of their coaching is not a big deal if they enforce it across the board.

I think that the school showed an incredible amount of naiveté, if not stupidity, with regards to the intelligence of its student body.  Did they think that none of the student-athletes would NOTICE that their coach was, all of a sudden, changing in the bathroom than in the locker room?  Did they somehow think that it would go unremarked?  Obviously, as usual, the administrative wing of the educational system is so out of touch with those whom they have been entrusted to teach that it is a miracle that the system produces naught but morons.  But then again, this is a "conservative" school we are talking about, which goes a long way in explaining where the "conservative" element is coming from in this country.

The dude with half face on the right is super cute & hot.

hes a high school student, perv

u r the real perv by taking a simple compliment into something gross!

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