Yesterday, during an LGBTQ Pride celebration at Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C., principal Pete Cahall came out of the closet as a gay man. Saying he'd "hid in the shadows for the last fifty years," Cahall credited his students with giving him the inspiration he needed to publicly embrace his truth.
The Washington Post reports:
"I want to say publicly for the first time because of your leadership, care and support that I am a proud gay man who just happens to be the principal of Wilson High School," he said in the packed atrium at the D.C. school, flanked by Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and David Catania (I), the D.C. Council's first openly gay member...
Students greeted Cahall's announcement Wednesday with a loud, long cheer. "I feel really proud of him, even though obviously he's an adult," said Marla Solow, 16, a junior who helped organize the Pride event. "I teared up ... if it inspires other people to come out, that's great."
"I have so much respect for him to be able to do that," said Tao Marwell, a 17-year-old senior who said she identifies as queer. "It's a very brave thing to do."
Mayor Gray congratulated Cahall and said he hoped the principal's example would inspire LGBT students to come out publicly as well. "There is nothing worse than walking around having to hide who you are," Gray said. Catania called it "the most important lesson that these students will learn all year."
Afterwards, students hugged Cahall, who said he felt like a great weight had been lifted from him.
The Westboro Baptist Church, which plans to be in Washington protesting during Pride events, said that it would picket the school's pride day. More than 1,000 students plan to peacefully counter-protest.
Watch Cahall's coming-out speech, after the jump.