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Gay Stories: A Mayor's Coming Out



Guestblogger Nathan Manske and Marquise Lee are halfway though a 3 month trip around the United States collecting stories for their I'm From Driftwood site. We're finally ready to start catching up with some of the stories collected over the first half of the trip along with some of the insight into what they're seeing now. 

DriftwoodIt was early Sunday morning in Portland, Oregan, and Marquise (videographer extraordinaire) and I arrived to the location where "gay mayor" Sam Adams agreed to meet us and share a story. We were almost out of gas, running late because the Portland marathon blocked traffic, soaked from the non-stop rain and stressed out from all of the above. We saw a black SUV with two police officers inside, on the otherwise empty street corner. "This must be his entourage," I thought. I approached and made eye contact with one of them and smiled. The cop rolled down his window. "Um, hi...I'm here to, uh, meet the mayor," I said. He looked at me and cocked an eyebrow. "Okay. I'm hear to watch the marathon." Oops.

Minutes later, the mayor drives up in his own Prius, with no entourage to be found, and we followed him to a local diner to get his story. I was expecting to hear about how being gay affected his campaign, how he dealt with and overcame the challenges or something that would make him seem like he could handle anything. You know, mayoral stuff. Instead, he shared an intimate and revealing story that made him seem surprisingly vulnerable, but also refreshingly real.

In general, I typically don't want too many coming out stories on IFD. People know them and there are so many more interesting aspects to being LGBT than that one moment of coming out. And sure enough, Mayor Adams shared a coming out story. But it wasn't the teenager-coming-out-to-his-parents-and-there-were-tears story. This one took place at the workplace and it happened less than a decade ago. It stood out to me because it shows that coming out isn't a one time thing. It's a lifelong process. For every new employer, every new friend, every new co-worker, there must be an "I'm gay" moment. Even if you're a mayor-to-be.

Watch Portland Mayor Sam Adams' story, AFTER THE JUMP...

A Survivor's Account of an Unbelievable Hell Called Home [tr]

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  1. I don't agree with the "every new friend, every new co-worker" part. People are incredibly gossipy and nosy, and straight people seem to automatically home in on someone over 30 not wearing a wedding ring.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 3, 2010 2:12:58 PM

  2. It's so true. Coming out is not a "one moment" event. It's a lifelong process. One friend, a woman who worked as an adviser to President Clinton, told me, "You never stop coming out." She was right but it's well worth it... more than I could have imagined.

    Posted by: Gene Knapp | Dec 3, 2010 3:43:36 PM

  3. This guy's sketchy! Let's forget that he exists, please.

    Posted by: TANK | Dec 3, 2010 3:46:47 PM

  4. Sam Adams is a liar and a coward and your typical "how much for my ass" politician. His response to the Prop 8 protests is so typical of the role gay Democrats play in our movement: instead of demanding an end to injustice and siding with minorites, he sided with the cops and told people to go home.


    Why are we so needy for attention and validation that we rush to support someone who was forced out of the closet? Folks, its 2010. If you're a politician in the closet, you DON'T deserve our support. I'd rather support a straight politician with excellent politics who's not willing to compromise on anyone's rights than a politician who screws teenagers and hides it and then tells me I have to wait for my rights.

    And if Sam Adams is a turd, you don't even want to know about Barney Frank, Goldman Sachs' personal whore in Congress. A man with the ear of Goldman Sachs and the voice of Elmer Fudd.

    Posted by: The Ghost of Harry Hay | Dec 3, 2010 5:13:21 PM

  5. Sam's a politician. Plain and simple. He's a bit different as mayor than he was as a councilman but is all about Sam as per usual. That being said he's not that bad all things considered and has had a sharp learning curve since getting the big seat. Hence siding w/PDX cops (they can be scary)(happy to shoot ya dead)(often) since he is the police commissioner. He took that away from one of the councilman for good reason. He wants to control the message and try to have a positive light shown on PDX. He will totally rehab. his image and run for congress or Governor in the near future too. Probably do us a good job too.

    Posted by: KevInPDX | Dec 3, 2010 9:36:15 PM

  6. Praising Sam Adams is like trying to polish a turd. He can do it in Portland where the twenty somethings will fall to their knees and lick his butt but not the rest of the state. God help us if he tries to run for governor. The Repubs will wipe the floor with him. He's just gawd awful.

    Posted by: Bud | Dec 4, 2010 12:34:52 PM

  7. Sam Adams...excellent his Boston Lager and I.P.A

    Posted by: ratbastard | Dec 4, 2010 8:00:11 PM

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