LANHAM, Md. (WNEW) — A LGBTQ pride celebration at D.C.’s Woodrow Wilson High School led to a big surprise for students Wednesday, as Principal Pete Cahall came out as gay in front of the crowd.
Cahall tells WNEW’s Matt DelSignore that he just turned 50 and was “tired of hiding.”
“I would be a hypocrite if I tell kids to ‘be who you are’ and not be who I am,” he said.
He admits that he was nervous at the thought of sharing his secret in front of hundreds of students. Before his announcement, his hands were shaking, he said.
Matt DelSignore WNEW (@mattdelsignore) June 04, 2014
But students were very supportive, responding with cheers and applause. Senior Aidan Parisi, who helped to organize Pride Day event, says a lot of jaws dropped, including his.
But, Parisi said, “I was extremely proud of him for feeling comfortable to come out.”
The notoriously anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church is planning a demonstration at the school on Monday. The group’s website says it’s precisely because the school boasted that it would be the first public high school in the city, and maybe even the country, to host an LGBTQ pride event.
Wilson students are planning a counter-rally.
Westboro Baptist Church is also planning several other demonstrations in the area in the coming days.
The annual Capital Pride festival is also going on in D.C. through June 17.
Mayor Vincent Gray, who attended the high school’s Pride Day, told reporters that the Westboro Baptist church “can go straight to hell.”