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."
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)