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Hundreds Counterprotest Westboro Baptist Church at DC School

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Monday Jun 9, 2014

When a dozen members of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church traveled to Washington, DC, to protest the Wilson High School's LGBT Pride Day and openly gay principal, they were met with a contingent of several hundred counterprotestors.

NBC 4 Washington reported that when the anti-gay protestors arrived, students from Wilson High School and other nearby schools had lined the sidewalks outside the school in a peaceful demonstration. Across the street, several hundred more community members were lined up in support of the students.

"We kind of took it together to be proud of who we are," student Aiden Parisi told NBC 4, "and be happy that what we're doing is making an impact, that obviously this group has to come protest us."

The Westboro crew had targeted the school for protest because of its' pro-LGBT stance, but ramped it up after the principal, Pete Cahall, came out as gay last week, alongside Mayor Vincent Gray and the first openly gay member of the DC Council, David Catania.

"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," the 50-year-old Cahall told the crowd.

The protest was part of Westboro's local tour to protest Capital Pride on Saturday, the Supreme Court, the White House and Congress. In an earlier story, EDGE reported that the Westboro Baptist Church had announced its intention to picket outside the Woodrow Wilson High School in Northwest D.C. The high school held its first LGBTQ Pride Day Celebration last year, complete with entertainment, information, community resources and sponsorship by the Mayor's Office for GLBT Affairs.

But the folks at Westboro found affront in the youths move to "celebrate and glory in sin," and informed them that they'd be there on the morning of June 9 to let them know as much.

"You boast of being the first public high school in Washington, DC and perhaps the nation to host an 'LGBTQ Pride event' when you should be hanging your heads in shame for such a thing. How incredibly shameful it is that your parents and teachers won't simply tell you the truth. You each have a duty and it's very simple: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man," wrote the picketers at the Westboro Baptist Church via their website.

Apparently, the parents and teachers of these students chose to teach their children acceptance over hatred.

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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