A teacher who came out as gay during school assembly four years ago received an email from a former pupil thanking him for making the world a better place.
I came out as a gay teacher in a whole-school assembly in 2010. Today, 4 years later, I just received this email. Wow pic.twitter.com/Wdgzo4n3lf
- David Weston (@informed_edu) August 12, 2014
David Weston, 34, made the decision to come out at Watford Grammar School in 2010 after watching Gus Van Sant's film Milk, which documents the life of the first openly gay politician Harvey Milk, while recovering from a liver transplant operation in hospital.
Four year later, he received a letter from pupil Richard Miah who was at that assembly, thanking him for announcing he was gay.
David decided to share part of that letter with his followers on Twitter – but he never imagined the extraordinary reaction he would receive.
In just a few hours, the post had been retweeted more than 3,000 times and David was asked to appear on radio and TV to tell his inspiring story.
In the letter, former pupil Richard, who is heterosexual, said David had 'challenged the ignorance of so many people' by revealing his sexuality.
He added: "I just wanted you to know how inspirational your assembly was, and how much of a positive impact it had on the school. If every gay teacher shared your courage, then the world would be a much better place".
Following the positive online reaction, David said: "I have been completely blown away. [The reaction] was completely unexpected. [Richard's letter] was such a lovely thing to say. I thought people might think 'that is nice' and then it went online and the whole thing exploded".
He added: "If this little moment of madness does anything it would be great if people do feel that schools are less homophobic then we thought. I do believe that as teachers we should be the model of people we want our pupils to be."
David taught at the school from 2003-2012, where he was previously a pupil. He has since gone on to set up the Teacher Development Trust, a charity which works with teachers to encourage best practice in education.
He said coming out as a teacher where he was formerly a student had been a therapeutic experience. He now lives in Hendon with his civil partner.
He said: "It was a bit like slaying some demons for me because as a kid you hear other kids say 'That is gay' and you kind of take it personally and 'they must mean me'. I had never come out at school - it was not something I thought I could do. So coming out later was a big deal."