Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Micah Porter

First reported by Cyd Zeigler (co-founder of on September 19, championship track and field/cross-country coach Micah Porter (at right in black shirt) bravely came out to his team of high school athletes. Photo from OutSports.

From Zeigler’s post on

Porter called his team together before practice a week ago and told them he had some news. He let them know that an article about him would be coming out that week, and that the article discussed his being gay and would talk about his partner, Brandan. The news was met with the same silence that stared back at him when he came out to his wife four years earlier. After a few seconds, one of the team leaders – who Porter says could end the season as a conference champion – stood up, shook his hand, told him it didn't matter to him, and asked what that day's practice had in store for them. The rest of the team laced up their shoes and followed suit. "It was a positive moment for me and for them as young men and for us as a young team," Porter said. "After all that worry, it was a non-issue for them."

Full story at:

Photo by Andy Cross for the Denver Post

To say that Coach Porter, who is in his early 40s, is in a complicated situation is understatement. He came out to his team against the advice of the school’s administrators, to whom Porter had revealed his sexual orientation in 2010. At that time Porter had been instructed to steer clear of the locker room and to change into his coaching gear in a private bathroom (Porter also teaches history at the school), a situation that elicited this response from Porter:

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

From your blogger: Well, OK. This is where I exit my role as reporter and switch to having to make some personal observations. Does Porter even consider that he just might have earned his “second-class” citizen status? When he took this coaching job seventeen years ago, he deceived the school by not telling his employer that he knew he was sexually attracted to men. The school was acting defensively, fully aware of its liability in keeping Porter on its staff. Less liberal students and parents might sue, so keeping Porter out of the locker room was their way of protecting themselves. IMHO Porter should be down on his knees thanking his lucky stars that he is still afforded the opportunity to teach and coach at his West Denver high school. But that’s just me.

Back to the facts.

Porter’s coaching ability and record make him a valuable asset to his school. He is a four-time state champion head coach, was once named state coach of the year, has won twelve county coach-of-the-year honors for his sport and was the county's coach of the year for all sports once. As if that weren’t enough, he has coached 33 athletes to individual state titles. Academically, the cherry on top was that he was named the high school’s Teacher of the Year in 2004. For thirteen years he had been married to another teacher at the same school; together they were the head coaches of the school's cross-country teams.

Naturally, Porter had been tormented by the fact that over the years his sexual feelings for men would not go away. Depressed, he sought help from medications prescribed by his therapists. During the months following his coming out to his wife, the couple told their son and daughter the truth, then separated and divorced. A year later, Porter came out to his school administrators, who supported his continued teaching and coaching duties at their school. The high school’s athletic director, Jerry McWhorter, says, "I've never heard a negative thing about him from anybody...He's well-respected throughout the state as a coach. He gets a lot out of his athletes...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."

More from Zeigler’s post:

...shortly after the divorce, Porter began dating Brandan Rader, a psychology student at the University of Colorado at Denver. The two met when Porter came across a talk by Rader at a nearby school encouraging youth to accept their sexual orientation. Porter asked Rader to lunch, they hit it off, and they have been together since.

That was over two years ago. In that time, they've been seen together around town. A lot. Porter has introduced Rader to parents and friends. Various students live in their neighborhood; some have asked "who was that man" they saw with Porter. Between that and a high-profile divorce in the high school, there are likely few adults in the area who don't know Porter's poorly kept "secret."

The buzz has trickled down to the student body. Porter said his daughter, now a freshman at the University of Denver, was asked by a runner she was dating if her dad was gay. The school's head basketball coach told Porter he was asked by his team about Porter's sexual orientation.

"When people ask, I tell them," Porter said. "My closest friends at school know, and I tell them they can tell whomever they want. It's a major part of who I am as a person, but it's not the defining part. I'm a coach, I'm a teacher, I'm a dad, I'm Brandan's partner.”

Despite his concerns, McWhorter said he hasn't heard a word from Porter's athletes about their coach being gay. In fact, he hasn't fielded a single complaint from any staff member or parent in the couple of years Porter has been drifting out of the closet. Not a word.

As time has gone by, and more people know the worst-kept secret in Denver, Porter has loosened up. Lately he has even asked Brandan to attend track meets.

"I wake up every day excited about life and my job and my relationship with Brandan," Porter said. "We bought a house together. We're building a life together. There are parts of my life I hope to repair, but I take better care of myself, I have so much more confidence than I ever have in my life.

"For the first time in a long time, I've had people tell me I look happy. For the first time in a long time, I am."...

From your blogger Terry:
Perhaps the best lesson we can learn from coach Porter’s story is that living a lie will eventually catch up with us. Be the best you can be, face up to the truth and deal with the consequences. It’s our only chance at happiness and a worthwhile life. Let’s wish Porter and his partner the best of success.

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