The principal at D.C.’s Woodrow Wilson High School, Pete Cahall, disclosed he is gay at the school’s second annual LGBTQ Pride Day ceremony on Wednesday.
Cahall, 50, received loud applause and cheers from students as well as from D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) and City Council member David Catania (I-At Large), who attended the event.
“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 at Wilson High School,” he said.
“Mayor Gray, you have led the way and set the circumstances that I could never imagine as a high school student or a principal to say what I want to say today,” Cahall said.
The principal’s coming out announcement came five days before members of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas were scheduled to hold a protest demonstration at 8:15 a.m. Monday, June 9, at the school in opposition to its decision to allow students to hold an LGBT Pride celebration on school grounds.
Working with the local LGBT youth advocacy group SMYAL, students at Wilson said they are planning a counter demonstration at the same time, which they say could draw more than 100 students and supporters.
Catania has said he plans to support the students’ plans for a counter demonstration.
D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) released a statement on Wednesday saying she, too, is supporting the counter protest. Bowser called on her supporters to make a contribution to SMYAL to help the group continue its work on behalf of LGBT youth.