Maine Congressman Mike Michaud Comes Out
Before running for office, Rep. Michaud started working at a paper mill after high school, where he continued working until his election to Maine’s state legislature, and later, the U.S. Congress. Before Michaud came out, he co-sponsored legislation to enact hate crimes protections, fund HIV/AIDS programs, repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination. He was also a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act that would abolish the Defense of Marriage Act.
As Michaud launched his campaign for governor of Maine in 2013, a whisper campaign began. Michaud addressed the rumors head on in November 2013, coming out in an op-ed titled: “Yes, I am gay. ‘But why should it matter?”. He then embarked on a media campaign allowing him to live out and proud. As Michaud told a Victory Fund staffer during a 2014 interview:
“I think the most touching [story after coming out] was when I was talking to a business owner in central Maine. He came up to me and wanted to talk to me when I finished my lunch. When I did, he came over with tears in his eyes. He told me his son came out to him five months ago, and he is only 15 years old. The reason his son came out was because he thought something was wrong with him. When I came out it really made a big difference in that young man’s life.”
While Michaud lost his race for governor, the impact of his courage lived on.