Today’s Video Story was collected on the 50-state Story Tour. Check out the blog where you can follow us on our adventure. If you haven’t submitted a story yet to IFD, or if you want to submit another one, I’d love to read and publish it. Write one up and send it in.
Also, some exciting news. My favorite gay news blog, Towleroad, which posted about IFD way back when it was just a few days old, is partnering with us to help get these stories in front of as many people as possible. These stories won’t help anyone if they’re not seen or heard, so a big thanks to Andy and Michael over there for ensuring they are.
My name is Sam Adams. I’m originally from a small town on a the Oregon coast called Newport, Oregon. And the story that has had a lot of impact on me was at a certain point in my career as a public servant I got offered a job to be a campaign manager for a mayor of Portland. The city that I am now mayor of. Her name is Vera Katz and I had worked around her, but not for her for a number of years and she had decided to run for mayor, herself and asked me to be her campaign manager. I’d decided if I was going to go to Portland, where in Oregon is the, the seat of the media, most of the media state wide is centered in Oregon. That there would be a chance that I would be outed. Or that I would want to come out. So I decided she would be the first perspective employer I would tell, that I was gay. She’d offered me the job, she’d been “Are you going to take the job or not take the job?” for a number of weeks. And I finally, you know, I said, well “I’m really interested in this job, but we should sit down and have coffee.” She’s like, “Okay.” Cause we had a very relaxed relationship. So we went to a coffee place over in Northwest Portland. Got our coffees, I was nervous. And I said. She said, “I’m really excited.” She starts going off, “this is what I think we should do” But before you hire me, you know, very dramatic, “before you hire me, you need to know something about me and be comfortable with the fact that, I’m gay.” And she paused, she sort of crooked her head a little bit and said, “You’re gay?” And I said, “Yes.” And she goes, “Oh, well I had no idea.” And I said, “Okay.” And she said, she reached over, she grabbed my hand and said, “Honey, I don’t give a fuck whether you’re gay or straight, you know, tell people, don’t tell people. Handle it the way you want. Just know I support you, I love you and I still want you to be my campaign manager. And it was such a wonderful moment to be able to tell someone who I respected and admired greatly as I did all the people I worked for, but to be able to tell them and it to be clearly, not that it wasn’t an issue, she was actually supportive. And supportive and acknowledged that, you know, that I wasn’t out and that it was up to me how I wanted to handle it. It was just a fantastic experience.