SchoolA teacher in the United Kingdom received an unexpected letter this week.

David Weston, a teacher at Watford Grammar School, came out in a school assembly in 2010. This week, four years later, Weston received a letter from a straight student who was at that assembly.

His former student wrote, “I know this message may seem a little pointless but I really felt you should know that you challenged the ignorance of so many people that day, and if every gay teacher share your courage, then the world would be a much better place – not just for gay men, but for all of us. For that, I thank you.”

The letter, which Weston shared on Twitter, has now gone viral.

“I nearly didn’t share it, but thought maybe it would help other teachers who are afraid of revealing their sexuality,” Weston told Buzzfeed. “But I’ve heard from a number of people who are already openly gay and have entirely positive and comfortable reactions from pupils and colleagues alike.”

Teachers are not only leaders in the classroom, but role models for children worldwide. This story spotlights how teachers in the classroom can generate open conversations and create a welcoming and accepting space.  A welcoming school environment addresses the many kinds of bias based bullying including anti-LGBT slurs and gender put-downs. Taking a proactive and brave approach, like Weston did four years ago, has undoubtedly had a positive affect for the students and teachers in that community.

Welcoming Schools, a program of the HRC Foundation, uses LGBT-inclusive approach to addressing family diversity, gender stereotyping and bullying and name-calling in K-5 learning environments. Learn more about the program here

Coming out -- whether it is as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or allied -- is a deeply personal journey for every individual. For more resources on coming out, visit HRC’s Coming Out Center.

Filed under: Coming Out

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