Principal comes out to students, staff at gay PRIDE assembly

Wilson High School students linger after the school\'s second annual Gay pride Day assembly to paint faces and talk about their principal\'s announcement. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

WASHINGTON — A D.C. high school principal is using a major moment in his life to teach his students about being proud to be themselves.

It was an announcement principal Pete Cahall put a lot of thought into.

“Driving into work, I knew driving home tonight life was never going to be the same,” Cahall says.

Knowing he was gay and staying silent during last year’s Gay PRIDE Day at the school weighed on him, Cahall says. So he decided this year would be different.

“I can’t look myself in the mirror and say I’m going to go out and say to them you know, ‘Be true to yourself. Be who you are. You’re safe,’ and me not walk the talk. I’d be a hypocrite,” Cahall says.

So, standing on the stage with D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray during the school’s second annual Gay PRIDE Day in front of staff and students, Cahall came out announcing he’s gay.

“I was surprised. I didn’t think of his sexual preference before but when he came out I was proud. It was cool,” says junior Leander Trotter.

Part of the reason he decided to come out of the closet, Cahall says, is because of the support he knew he’d receive from students and staff.

“I feel better, good, relieved. I got lots of affirming looks and hugs from staff,” Cahall says of the moment after his announcement.

“Everyone just screamed. Everyone was happy and like clapping. And then Mayor Gray was like, ‘Everyone give a round of applause for Mr. Cahall,’ and everyone just screamed,” says junior Joyce Disdinto.

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