Pete Cahall, the principal of Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C., came out as gay in honor of the school’s second annual Pride Day.
Cahall thanked his colleagues for inspiring him with their love.
“I have felt the love of the Wilson and great DCPS community,” Cahall said in an NBC News report. “But the critical factor for me as a principal is that I have been inspired by my students. To date, I have not made this declaration before because I didn’t want my kids to think differently of me or not to respect me.”
Cahall made the announcement with Mayor Vincent Gray at his side. During the speech, Cahall thanked the mayor for bringing LGBT issues to light and helping to make the nation’s capital city one of inclusion and acceptance.
The student body and other spectators erupted in cheers and applause after the announcement.
The Pride Day drew attention from all over the country, including from the Westboro Baptist Church. Westboro threatened to protest the school for having a Pride Day. The hate group has even published its intent to protest on its website.
“You celebrate and glory in your sin,” reads the entry. “You say ‘You can’t hide tiger pride?’ and you’re right. You are incapable of being ashamed of your sin.”
The student body has planned a peaceful, silent counterprotest in response to the threat by Westboro.
“I fully support a peaceful student-led counter-protest as a teachable movement and have taken steps to ensure the safety of our counter-protesters and school community on June 9,” reads a letter from Cahall posted on the school’s website.
The letter also says measures are being taken to assure the safety of students with help from the Metropolitan Police Department and students have been instructed on the standards of behavior expected of them as counterprotesters.