Randi Weingarten: Not a ‘Coming Out’ Occasion

Yesterday was National Coming Out Day, and it also marked the first time labor leader Randi Weingarten publicly discussed the fact that she is a lesbian.

Weingarten, the head of the United Federation of Teachers, made her remarks on the subject last night at the Empire State Pride Agenda’s fund-raiser, where she won the group’s award for community service after being introduced by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

But when I spoke to Weingarten right after the speech, she said no, she didn’t consider it her ‘coming out speech.’

“I think it’s just a big room and you know, I used this to make a point, but no,” she said. “I’ve been–anybody who knows me knows I’ve never been hidden about who I am.”

I also asked Weingarten, who has led the UFT since 1998, why she had chosen that moment to make her most public comments about her sexual identity.

“I won the award tonight,” she said. “I rarely talk about my personal life, but it felt important to make the point about tolerance, respect and equality. And sometimes, in order to make a point you got to walk a walk. But anybody who knows me knows I’ve never been hidden about it.”