Principal comes out as gay during school LGBT event: "I'm tired - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Principal comes out as gay during school LGBT event: "I'm tired of hiding"

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WASHINGTON - "I'm tired of hiding." That's the principal of D.C.'s largest public high school said at an annual gay pride event held at his school Wednesday-- right after he came out in front of his students and staff. 

Woodrow Wilson High School principal Peter Cahall had D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Councilmember David Catania by his side when he made the announcement.  He came out to cheers from his students, having lived his life in the closet. 

"Mayor Gray, 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," Cahall told the crowd.  

"I just turned 50 a couple of weeks ago," Cahall said afterwards.  "And, you know it was just something I kept saying.  I'm tired of hiding."

Cahall decided to make his announcement at his school's second annual LGBT Pride event.  For him, it seemed like the perfect time and place. 

"If I was going to stand in front of these kids today celebrating our pride and saying, you can be who you are, I would be a hypocrite if I decided to hide," said Cahall.

Gray spoke out with a message of support for Cahall.

"I want to congratulated you on making that announcement," the mayor said.  "I didn't know until I got here.  In fact, I said to you, I'm just going to put my notes aside.  This is going to be a lot bigger than anything I might say."

The event at Wilson High School comes just days before members of the Westboro Baptist Church are planning to protest because of the Pride Day event.  Mayor Gray, however, had a clear message for the group.

"In my best Biblical reference, they can go straight to hell," Gray said. 

Gray has been a longtime supporter of the district's LGBT community. He is also marching in Saturday's Capital Pride Parade.

Students both gay and straight applauded their principal, knowing that coming out that way wasn't an easy decision.   Cahall says times have changed since he was young, and back then, a school Pride celebration would have been very unlikely. 

"Growing up, the word "gay" wasn't even allowed to be mentioned-- much less think about, talk about that," Cahall said.

Police say that on Tuesday, a threat was made against the school. Students were told to stay inside and security was in place to ensure students were safely dismissed. Police have not released any information regarding who made the threat.
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