The principal of an exclusive private school plans to make history in the UK by coming out as gay during an online assembly.
Nicholas Hewlett, the head of the $25,000-a-year St. Dunstan’s College in Catford, southeast London, told the Sunday Times of London that he plans to discuss his sexuality and marriage to another teacher during an assembly Monday.
It is thought to be the first time a principal will come out in front of his pupils and staff in the UK, the paper said.
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Hewlett, 41, said he was inspired by a pupil who recently discussed how comfortable they were being gay.
“I was so blown away by the courage of him that something flipped in my head,” he told the UK paper.
“I thought then of my own situation and thought: ‘This is ridiculous.’ Here I am as a happily married gay man, and the children do not know that at school.
“There will be kids who are struggling with their own sexuality and who would benefit from knowing that you can be happy and gay, and I have a privileged position to show them that.
“I felt that I owed it to the pupils to be open and courageous too. I am inspired by them,” he told the UK Times.
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Hewlett heralded the “astronomically different times,” noting that not too long ago it would have been “virtually impossible for me to become a [principal].”
“One forgets how quickly things have moved on — the difference is astonishing,” he said, while noting there are still “very, very few openly gay” principals in the country.
He expects to be emotional, especially as he discusses his marriage to Alberic Elsom, the director of music at the independent Whitgift School in nearby Croydon, in a civil ceremony in 2014.
“I am glad I am coming out in an online assembly. If I were delivering it from the stage, who knows if I might cry,” he told the UK Times.