How Mayor Menino Responds To Those Who Come Out to Him

Mayor Tom Menino, zealous defender of gay rights, once had a pretty great reaction to a staffer who came out of the closet to him. Justin Holmes, the city’s director of constituent engagement, marked National Coming Out Day with a tweet:

We followed up with Holmes, who says it’s a true story, though he presumes the Mayor wasn’t seriously suggesting he hit anyone. (Nor do we suggest this, just from a practical standpoint.) About five years ago, Menino learned that Holmes, then working for City Council President Maureen Feeney, was gay. About a week later, the Mayor called him up by phone. Holmes writes us in an e-mail:

… He wanted to see how I was doing, make sure I was ok with coming out and offered to connect me to resources at Fenway Health if I needed to talk to anyone (said he knew people who struggled with coming out and knew it could be tough).

That’s when he said one last thing, as I remember — “If anyone in this city gives you a hard time for being gay, I want you to punch them in the nose and tell them I said it was ok. Hang in there kid.”


He’s now my boss.