“When we make a public declaration of our sexual orientation — when we say that we are proud members of this community, mountains move. Just that simple act helps create hope, opportunity and voice for the thousands of brothers and sisters who still think they must hide.” – Randi Weingarten, head of NYC’s powerful United Federation of Teachers, in a coming out speech to the Empire State Pride Agenda yesterday (on National Coming Out Day.)
Weingarten has long been out to friends and co-workers, but not publicly. Weingarten: “I had never acknowledged my sexuality in such a big setting, although it had never been hidden from anybody.” She says she was moved in part to come out after reading Tuesday’s NY Times article about the plight of gay seniors. The UFT is affliated with the AFL-CIO and the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest education labor union in the United States. Weingarten has been president of the UFT since 1997.