Karen Ocamb

Former Publisher of San Diego Gay Paper Commits Suicide

Filed By Karen Ocamb | December 10, 2010 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Media
Tags: gay news, Michael Portantino, San Diego, suicide

Frontiers has confirmed that Michael Portantino, 52, the former publisher of the San Diego Gay and Lesbian Times, committed suicide Wednesday night.

According to Michael Ellano, an investigator with the San Diego County Medical Examiner's office, Portanino was found dead at 8:12 p.m. at 525 Spruce Street, San Diego--the famed gay-owned Park Manor Suites. According to the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, the Gay and Lesbian Times experienced serious financial and legal troubles in May, though there is no indication yet if that might have played a role in Portantino's suicide.

Paul Levikow, Communications Director for the San Diego District Attorney's office, told Frontiers that there were no pending charges filed against Portantino, nor did anyone from the DA's office call Portantino's attorney to say that charges would be filed.

Thursday afternoon, the Portantino Family released the following statement:

Michael Portantino was a fighter his entire life. He provided tireless and unmatched support for the LGBT community and advocated for respect and dignity for all Californians. As a father, brother and son he valued his family and friends. He made us laugh, he made us think and sometimes he even made us angry as he challenged us all to live our lives to their fullest potential and with complete absolute commitment to one another for the betterment of our neighborhoods, communities and country.

We have suffered a great loss and pray for Michael as he will no longer be with us in body. We have all been touched by his spirit and passion and we hope that he is remembered for the positive role he played in all our lives.

The Portantino Family

The following statements were issued upon the Dec. 8 death of former San Diego Gay and Lesbian Times publisher Michael Portantino:

Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego):

"I knew Michael Portantino for many years. He was an institution in the LGBT community, and his brother Anthony Portantino, is a legislative colleague of mine. Michael's death is a terrible loss for his family and for the community."

Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego):

"Michael and I had occasion to agree and to disagree. I never doubted his passion, sincerity or commitment. I respected Michael for his convictions. My heart goes out to his family and especially his daughter Tatiana who he loved with all his being."

Assembly Speaker John PĂ©rez (D-Los Angeles):

"I am deeply saddened by the loss of Michael Portantino. He was a fierce advocate and effective leader in the LGBT Community. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Portantino family as they mourn with the loss of such a passionate and articulate loved one."

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco); Chair of the Legislative LGBT Caucus:

"Michael Portantino was a strong voice for LGBT rights not only in San Diego, but throughout California. He was a passionate and fearless advocate for the cause of LGBT equality. He will be sorely missed, but I know his memory will live on with his family and friends."

(Cross-posted from Frontiers In LA)

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From my years on the Family Equality Council Board and my work as Exec. Dir. of the Straight Spouse Network, I remember well the amazing combination of social activism and personal caring that Michael showed constantly.
Amity P. Buxton, Ph.D.
Founder, Straight Spouse Network