Michael Martin, whose 2014 story of coming out as gay as a high school soccer player went viral, won a seat on the Berkeley County School Board in West Virginia on Tuesday in his first run for public office.
“The results are in and I’m humbled and grateful to have won a seat on the Berkeley County School Board,” Martin, 23, wrote on Facebook. “The community has spoken through their vote for change and new leadership for our school system. I want to thank everyone who contributed to my campaign in so many ways and provided advice and moral support along the way.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Starting on the very first day I’m sworn into office, I will fight tirelessly for our students, teachers, school personnel and families to provide a world class education system right here in Berkeley County. Let’s get to work.”
Martin’s story as a gay high school soccer player who came out by dancing with the prom king was one of the most-read stories in Outsports history. While he did not focus on his sexual orientation during his campaign, he told Outsports’ Ken Schultz last year that he wanted to be an advocate for LGBTQ students if elected.
“I would like to implement LGBTQ education training for all school staff to provide an awareness of harassment and situational intervention,” Martin said. “As the second-largest school system in West Virginia, we need to be a leader in protecting our students and making sure the necessary resources are available for every student.”
Martin’s Facebook page was filling with congratulations Tuesday night, including from parents in the district, with one writing: “Congratulations on your win! Well deserved! As parents of two sons in Berkeley County Schools we look forward to a fresh voice and to hopefully see things move forward that are much needed in this school system!”
It’s so cool to see someone as young and smart as Martin run and win and make a difference in his community, in the same school district where he went to school for 13 years. Doing it as an out man in West Virginia is doubly inspiring.