Promoting Pride

Chris Obermeyer hopes Woodrow Wilson High School's Pride celebration becomes the model

Afterward, he told his students his personal story of being harassed for being perceived to be gay, even before he had admitted that fact to himself, as a way to promote understanding about being judged based on other people’s prejudices. The revelation, he says, marked a ”turning point” in his relationship with his students since starting his teaching career at Wilson two years ago. He says his coming out was well received by students, parents and administrators alike.

”One of the best things was during parent-teacher conferences, one parent came in and … she said, ‘I’m so thankful you came out to them. You’re teaching them compassion, and what that looks like.’ That meant a lot to me. It’s one of the moments that definitely makes it all worth it, especially when you’re having a bad day.”

Although some might be raise an eyebrow at Obermeyer’s Wilson Pride efforts, he says he’s received no backlash, but rather encouragement from PTA members who have volunteered to help plan and carry out the event.

Looking forward to next year’s Wilson Pride, assuming this becomes an annual event, Obermeyer says he’d like to work more closely with several of the community organizations serving LGBT teens to host dances or other social events for students, and would like to incorporate Wilson Pride as one of the featured events leading up to Capital Pride.

”What I’d really love to see is, if this goes really well, that maybe it’s something that could happen at all of the high schools in D.C.,” he says. ”Because, you know, Wilson’s not the only high school with gay kids.”

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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