Senator Portman’s Son Writes About Coming Out in Yale Daily News Guest Column

Will Portman, the son of Ohio GOP senator Rob Portman, wrote a buzzworthy guest column published in yesterday’s Yale Daily News discussing his experiences coming out to classmates, friends, and family.  Senator Portman recently announced his support for gay marriage, making headlines for taking a stance that defies the Republican Party’s general position.

In his YDN piece, headlined “Coming Out,” Will, a Yale University junior, writes, “I came to Yale as a freshman in the fall of 2010 with two big uncertainties hanging over my head: whether my dad would get elected to the Senate in November, and whether I’d ever work up the courage to come out of the closet. . . . I worried about how my friends back home would react when I told them I was gay.  Would they stop hanging out with me?  Would they tell me they were supportive, but then slowly distance themselves?  And what about my friends at Yale, the ‘Gay Ivy’?  Would they criticize me for not having come out earlier? Would they be able to understand my anxiety about all of this?  I felt like I didn’t quite fit in with Yale or Cincinnati, or with gay or straight culture.”


He later confirms he told his parents about his sexual orientation during his freshman year through a carefully written letter he overnighted home.  In his words, they were “absolutely rock-solid supportive” from the moment they received it.  He writes of his father, senator Portman, specifically, “I’m proud of my dad, not necessarily because of where he is now on marriage equality (although I’m pretty psyched about that), but because he’s been thoughtful and open-minded in how he’s approached the issue, and because he’s shown that he’s willing to take a political risk in order to take a principled stand.”

Yale Daily News editor-in-chief  Tapley Stephenson tells Jim Romenesko (some of it paraphrased): “[W]hat Portman submitted to the opinion editor didn’t need much editing; the only question was the length. Opinion pages piece usually run about 700 words, ‘but we decided it was worth running as a double column.'”

The piece is being cited in reports and posts across the news media and blogosphere. Its online version currently boasts roughly 130 comments beneath it.

Portman’s guest column sparked memories of two somewhat similar student press pieces.  Last month, PK Creedon, a popular student at the University of Tampa (where I teach), publicly shared his coming out experiences for the first time in a feature published in a special magazine edition of The Minaret (which I proudly advise).


Separately, last May, a day after ending his tenure as student government president at American University, Tim McBride revealed in an op-ed in The Eagle that he was transgender and ready to publicly identify himself as a woman, Sarah.



One Response to “Senator Portman’s Son Writes About Coming Out in Yale Daily News Guest Column”
  1. Will Jones says:

    I would also point your attention a column published by the editor-in-chief of Binghamton University’s paper back in the fall, where he speaks about his experience: