A principal at a school in Washington, D.C., publicly revealed his homosexuality during a Pride Day event this week.
Pete Cahall said he is gay and thanked the supportive community of Woodrow Wilson High School, as he spoke in front of his co-workers, students, and the mayor, according to a local NBC News report. The school held its annual Pride Day event to unite more than 20 organizations that support the needs of LGBT youth.
“A few weeks ago I turned 50 years old. Your leadership has given me the courage and inspiration to say what I need to say today,” Cahall said to Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray, who stood next to him during his speech. The politician has been an outspoken supporter of gay rights and also attended the school’s event last year.
“I have felt the love and support of the greater Wilson and [D.C. Public Schools] community. But the critical factor for me as a principal has been that I have been inspired by my students,” Cahall said. “I have hidden in the shadows, but I am liberated today.”
Followers of the controversial, anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church tried to taint an upcoming pride event at the school by devising a plan to picket in D.C. on June 9. But about 1,000 students immediately began making their own plans for a peaceful, silent protest once they discovered the congregation’s intention to protest their celebration of gay rights, according to The Washington Post.
The pseudo-religious extended family, founded in 1955 by the late Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., has become an object of national fascination and revulsion. They troll the country with taunting signs that often read: “God hates fags” and “God hates America.”
“You boast of being the first public high school in Washington, D.C., and perhaps the nation to host an ‘LBGTQ pride event’ when you should be hanging your heads in shame for such a thing,” the group wrote in an online message to the school, along with the exact times they expected to protest. “You celebrate and glory in your sin.”